TURNER FREE LIBRARY
3 1642 00290 1702
MARY E. WILKINS
"Jerome" "Pembroke" "Madelon"
"Jane Field" etc,
NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER fir BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1901, by Harpbr & Bjrotheks.
All rights reserved.
The Cat 3
The Monkey 19
The Squirrel 39
The Lost Dog 53
The Parrot 65
The Doctor's Horse 85
Bouncing Bet 99
THE CAT FORAGED TIRELESSLY" . . . Frontispiece
THE BOY AND THE MONKEY LOOKED
RIDICULOUSLY ALIKE" Facing p. 26
HE WAS A VIBRATION OF LIBERTY " . * ' 30
THE BIRD-FANCIER WATCHED HIM" . 14 34
THEY CHATTERED ANGRILY" .... 44 44
BOTH THE DOG AND THE MAN WERE
THOROUGHBREDS" <4 56
'HE'S COMING, MARTHA T" .... " 72
' WHY, MARTHA ! WHAT IS THE MAT-
TER ?' " 44 74
SHE OVERLOOKED HER SUPPLY OF
LINEN" 44 76
A WOMAN OF AFFECTIONATE GLIBNESS * 44 78
BUT INWARDLY HER VERY SOUL
STORMED AND PROTESTED "... 44 80
HE WAS A FIRM AND HARD MAN IN
THE PURSUANCE OF HIS DUTY" . . " 86
HE THUNDERED ALONG THE ROAD " . " 92
THE LAST SURVIVOR WAS A WOMAN " . " I02,
"SHE USED TO SIT EN HER BAY - WIN-
DOW " Facing p. 106
THE OLD LYMAN HOMESTEAD .... 44 U2
44 EUGENE AND CAMILLA WERE SEEN
DRIVING TOGETHER" 44 130
"THE MOST AMIABLE WIFE IN THE
WORLD" '* 142
' 1 THERE CAME ANOTHER MAIDEN TO
VISIT HER" 44 148
44 4 DO YOU MEAN FOR ME TO KISS
HIM?' " 44 154
44 A LAST ASSERTION OF HER MAIDEN
FREEDOM " 44 166
44 THE MILTON HE PORED OVER FOR
HOURS" 44 186
4 4 4 I'D LOOK PRETTY CLIMBING MOUN-
TAINS, WOULDN'T I?'" 44 200
44 ARABELLA HAD QUITE AN ORCHARD " . 44 204
44 HE USED TO VIEW HIS SMALL IMAGE" 44 220
44 4 HERE,' SAID SHE, 4 HERE'S YOUR
RING I* " " 228
THE snow was falling, and the Cat's
fur was stiffly pointed with it, but he
was imperturbable. He sat crouched, ready
for the death-spring, as he had sat for hours.
It was night — but that made no difference —
all times were as one to the Cat when he was
in wait for prey. Then, too, he was under
no constraint of human will, for he was liv-
ing alone that winter. Nowhere in the world
was any voice calling him; on no hearth
was there a waiting dish. He was quite
free except for his own desires, which tyran-
nized over him when unsatisfied as now.
The Cat was very hungry — almost fam-
ished, in fact. For days the weather had
been very bitter, and all the feebler wild
things which were his prey by inheritance,
the born serfs to his family, had kept, for
the most part, in their burrows and nests,
and the Cat's long hunt had availed him
nothing. But lie waited with the incon-
ceivable patience and persistency of his
race; besides, he was certain. The Cat
was a creature of absolute convictions, and
his faith in his deductions never wavered.
The rabbit had gone in there between those
low-hung pine boughs. Now her little door-
way had before it a shaggy curtain of snow,
but in there she was. The Cat had seen her
enter, so like a swift gray shadow that even
his sharp and practised eyes had glanced
back for the substance following, and then
she was gone. So he sat down and waited,
and he waited still in the white night, lis-
tening angrily to the north wind starting
in the upper heights of the mountains with
distant screams, then swelling into an awful
crescendo of rage, and swooping down with
furious white wings of snow like a flock of
fierce eagles into the valleys and ravines.
The Cat was on the side of a mountain, on a
wooded terrace. Above him a few feet away
towered the rock ascent as steep as the wall
of a cathedral. The Cat had never climbed
it — trees were the ladders to his heights of
life. He had often looked with wonder at
the rock, and miauled bitterly and resent-
fully as man does in the face of a forbidding
Providence. At his left was the sheer prec-
ipice. Behind him, with a short stretch of
woody growth between, was the frozen per-
pendicular fall of a mountain stream. Be-
fore him was the way to his home. When
the rabbit came out she was trapped; her
little cloven feet could not scale such un-
broken steeps. So the Cat waited. The
place in which he was looked like a maelstrom
of the wood. The tangle of trees and bushes
clinging to the mountain-side with a stern
clutch of roots, the prostrate trunks and
branches, the vines embracing everything
with strong knots and coils of growth, had a
curious effect, as of things which had whirled
for ages in a current of raging water, only
it was not water, but wind, which had dis-
posed everything in circling lines of yielding
to its fiercest points of onset. And now over
all this whirl of wood and rock and dead
trunks and branches and vines descended
the snow. It blew down like smoke over
the rock-crest above; it stood in a gyrating
column like some death-wraith of nature,
on the level, then it broke over the edge of
the precipice, and the Cat cowered before
the fierce backward set of it. It was as
if ice needles pricked his skin through his
beautiful thick fur, but he never faltered
and never once cried. He had nothing to
gain from crying, and everything to lose;
the rabbit would hear him cry and know he
It grew darker and darker, with a strange
white smother, instead of the natural black-
ness of night. It was a night of storm and
death superadded to the night of nature. The
mountains were all hidden, wrapped about,
overawed, and tumultuously overborne by
it, but in the midst of it waited, quite un-
conquered, this little, unswerving, living
patience and power under a little coat of
A fiercer blast swept over the rock, spun
on one mighty foot of whirlwind athwart the
level, then was over the precipice.
Then the Cat saw two eyes luminous with
terror, frantic with the impulse of flight, he
saw a little, quivering, dilating nose, he saw
two pointing ears, and he kept still, with every
one of his fine nerves and muscles strained
like wires. Then the rabbit was out — there
was one long line of incarnate flight and ter-
ror — and the Cat had her.
Then the Cat went home, trailing his prey
through the snow.
The Cat lived in the house which his mas-
ter had built, as rudely as a child's block-
house, but stanchly enough. The snow
was heavy on the low slant of its roof, but
it would not settle under it. The two win-
dows and the door were made fast, but the
Cat knew a way in. Up a pine-tree behind
the house he scuttled, though it was hard
work with his heavy rabbit, and was in his
little window under the eaves, then down
through the trap to the room below, and on
his master's bed with a spring and a great
cry of triumph, rabbit and all. But his mas-
ter was not there; he had been gone since
early fall, and it was now February. He
would not return until spring, for he was an
old man, and the cruel cold of the mountains
clutched at his vitals like a panther, and he
had gone to the village to winter. The Cat
had known for a long time that his master
was gone, but his reasoning was always
sequential and circuitous; always for him
what had been would be, and the more easily
for his marvellous waiting powers, so he
always came home expecting to find his
When he saw that he was still gone, he
dragged the rabbit off the rude couch which
was the bed to the floor, put one little paw
on the carcass to keep it steacty, and began
gnawing with head to one side to bring his
strongest teeth to bear.
It was darker in the house than it had been
in the wood, and the cold was as deadly,
though not so fierce. If the Cat had not re-
ceived his fur coat unquestioningly of Prov-
idence, he would have been thankful that he
had it. It was a mottled gray, white on the
face and breast, and thick as fur could grow.
The wind drove the snow on the windows
with such force that it rattled like sleet, and
the house trembled a little. Then all at once
the Cat heard a noise, and stopped gnawing
his rabbit and listened, his shining green
eyes fixed upon a window. Then he heard
a hoarse shout, a halloo of despair and en-
treat}-; but he knew it was not his master
come home, and he waited, one paw still on
the rabbit. Then the halloo came again,
and then the Cat answered. He said all that
was essential quite plainly to his own com-
prehension. There was in his cry of re-
sponse inquiry, information, warning, ter-
ror, and, finally, the offer of comradeship;
but the man outside did not hear him, be-
cause of the howling of the storm.
Then there was a great battering pound
at the door, then another, and another. The
Cat dragged his rabbit under the bed. The
blows came thicker and faster. It was a
weak arm which gave them, but it was nerved
by desperation. Finally the lock yielded,
and the stranger came in. Then the Cat,
peering from under the bed, blinked with a
sudden light, and his green eyes narrowed.
The stranger struck a match and looked
about. The Cat saw a face wild and blue
with hunger and cold, and a man who looked
poorer and older than his poor old master,
who was an outcast among men for his pov-
erty and lowly mystery of antecedents ; and
he heard a muttered, unintelligible voicing
of distress from the harsh, piteous mouth.
There was in it both profanity and prayer,
but the Cat knew nothing of that.
The stranger braced the door which he had
forced, got some wood from the stock in the
corner, and kindled a fire in the old stove as
quickly as his half-frozen hands would al-
low. He shook so pitiably as he worked that
the Cat under the bed felt the tremor of it.
Then the man, who was small and feeble and
marked with the scars of suffering which
he had pulled down upon his own head, sat
down in one of the old chairs and crouched
over the fire as if it were the one love and de-
sire of his soul, holding out his yellow hands
like yellow claws, and he groaned. The
Cat came out from under the bed and leaped
up on his lap with the rabbit. The man
gave a great shout and start of terror, and
sprang, and the Cat slid clawing to the floor,
and the rabbit fell inertly, and the man leaned,
gasping with fright, and ghastly, against the
wall. The Cat grabbed the rabbit by the
slack of its neck and dragged it to the man's
feet. Then he raised his shrill, insistent
cry, he arched his back high, his tail was a
splendid waving plume. He rubbed against
the man's feet, which were bursting out of
their torn shoes.
The man pushed the Cat away, gently
enough, and began searching about the little
cabin. He even climbed painfully the lad-
der to the loft, lit a match, and peered up in
the darkness with straining eyes. He feared
lest there might be a man, since there was a
cat. His experience with men had not been
pleasant, and neither had the experience of
men been pleasant with him. He was an
old wandering Ishmael among his kind;
he had stumbled upon the house of a broth-
er, and the brother was not at home, and he
He returned to the Cat, and stooped stiffly
and stroked his back, which the animal
arched like the spring of a bow.
Then he took up the rabbit and looked at
it eagerly by the firelight. His jaws worked.
He could almost have devoured it raw. He
fumbled — the Cat close at his heels — around
some rude shelves and a table, and found,
with a grunt of self-gratulation, a lamp with
oil in it. That he lighted; then he found
a frying-pan and a knife, and skinned the
rabbit, and prepared it for cooking, the Cat
always at his feet.
When the odor of the cooking flesh filled
the cabin, both the man and the Cat looked
wolfish. The man turned the rabbit with
one hand, and stooped to pat the Cat with
the other. The Cat thought him a fine man.
He loved him with all his heart, though he
had known him such a short time, and though
the man had a face both pitiful and sharply
set at variance with the best of things.
It was a face with the grimy grizzle of age
upon it, with fever hollows in the cheeks,
and the memories of wrong in the dim eyes,
but the Cat accepted the man unquestioning-
ly and loved him. When the rabbit was
half cooked, neither the man nor the Cat
could wait any longer. The man took it
from the fire, divided it exactly in halves,
gave the Cat one, and took the other him-
self. Then they ate.
Then the man blew out the light, called
the Cat to him, got on the bed, drew up the
ragged coverings, and fell asleep with the
Cat in his bosom.
The man was the Cat's guest all the rest
of the winter, and winter is long in the moun-
tains. The rightful owner of the little hut
did not return until May. All that time the
Cat toiled hard, and he grew rather thin him-
self, for he shared everything except mice
with his guest; and sometimes game was
wary, and the fruit of the patience of days
was very little for two. The man was ill
and weak, however, and unable to eat much,
which was fortunate, since he could not hunt
for himself. All day long he lay on the
bed, or else sat crouched over the fire. It
was a good thing that fire-wood was ready
at hand for the picking up, not a stone's-
throw from the door, for that he had to at-
tend to himself.
The Cat foraged tirelessly. Sometimes he
was gone for days together, and at first the
man used to be terrified, thinking he would
never return; then he would hear the fa-
miliar cry at the door, and stumble to his
feet and let him in. Then the two would
dine together, sharing equally; then the Cat
would rest and purr, and finally sleep in the
Towards spring the game grew plentiful ;
more wild little quarry were tempted out of
their homes, in search of love as well as food.
One day the Cat had luck — a rabbit, a par-
tridge, and a mouse. He could not carry
them all at once, but finally he had them
together at the house door. Then he cried,
but no one answered. All the mountain
streams were loosened, and the air was full
of the gurgle of many waters, occasionally
pierced by a bird-whistle. The trees rustled
with a new sound to the spring wind ; there
was a flush of rose and gold-green on the
breasting surface of a distant mountain seen
through an opening in the wood. The tips
of the bushes were swollen and glistening
red, and now and then there was a flower;
but the Cat had nothing to do with flowers.
He stood beside his booty at the house door,
and cried and cried with his insistent triumph
and complaint and pleading, but no one came
to let him in. Then the Cat left his little
treasures at the door, and went around to
the back of the house to the pine-tree, and
was up the trunk with a wild scramble,
and in through his little window, and down
through the trap to the room, and the man
The Cat cried again — that cry of the ani-
mal for human companionship which is one
of the sad notes of the world; he looked in
all the corners; he sprang to the chair at
the window and looked out; but no one
came. The man was gone, and he never
The Cat ate his mouse out on the turf be-
side the house ; the rabbit and the partridge
he carried painfully into the house, but the
man did not come to share them. Finally,
in the course of a day or two, he ate them
up himself ; then he slept a long time on the
bed, and when he waked the man was not
Then the Cat went forth to his hunting-
grounds again, and came home at night with
a plump bird, reasoning with his tireless
persistency in expectancy that the man
would be there; and there was a light in the
window, and when he cried his old master
opened the door and let him in.
His master had strong comradeship with
the Cat, but not affection. He never patted
him like that gentler outcast, but he had a
pride in him and an anxiety for his welfare,
though he had left him alone all winter with-
out scruple. He feared lest some misfortune
might have come to the Cat, though he was
so large of his kind, and a mighty hunter.
Therefore, when he saw him at the door in all
the glory of his glossy winter coat, his white
breast and face shining like snow in the sun,
his own face lit up with welcome, and the Cat
embraced his feet with his sinuous body vi-
brant with rejoicing purrs.
The Cat had his bird to himself, for his mas-
ter had his own supper already cooking on
the stove. After supper the Cat's master took
his pipe., and sought a small store of tobacco
which he had left in his hut over winter. He
had thought often of it; that and the Cat
seemed something to come home to in the
spring. But the tobacco was gone; not a
dust left. The man swore a little in a grim
monotone, which made the profanity lose its
customary effect. He had been, and was, a
hard drinker; he had knocked about the
world until the marks of its sharp corners
were on his very soul, which was thereby
calloused, until his very sensibility to loss
was dulled. He was a very old man.
He searched for the tobacco with a sort of
dull combativeness of persistency; then he
stared with stupid wonder around the room.
Suddenly many features struck him as being
changed. Another stove -lid was broken;
an old piece of carpet was tacked up over a
window to keep out the cold; his fire- wood
was gone. He looked, and there was no oil
left in his can. He looked at the coverings
on his bed ; he took them up, and again he
made that strange remonstrant noise in his
throat. Then he looked again for his tobacco.
Finally he gave it up. He sat down be-
side the fire, for May in the mountains is
cold ; he held his empty pipe in his mouth,
his rough forehead knitted, and he and the
Cat looked at each other across that impas-
sable barrier of silence which has been set
between man and beast from the creation of
THE monkey lived in his little den un-
der the counter at the Bird - Fancier's.
He was the only monkey there. It was a
somewhat gloomy little shop, and the Mon-
key lived so far towards the back of it that
he was seldom seen. Even the children did
not often spy him out, and the most of their
attention was concentrated upon the canaries,
the parrots, the Angora cats, the white mice,
and the rabbits. The canaries were more
in evidence than the other inhabitants. The
rabbits, of course, had nothing to say, and
neither had the white mice. The parrots were
either too sulky or desired exclusive stages
for the exercise of their talents to say much.
As for the Angora cats, they seemed cowed,
possibty by their helplessness in the presence
of such numbers of their natural prey. But
the canaries were indomitable. Their wood-
en cages were small for their feathered bodies,
but no bars could hold their songs, which
floated in illimitable freedom forth into the
city street. The Monkey seldom raised his
voice at all. When he did, it had a curious
effect. As a rule, people looked everywhere
except at him for the source of it. It had a
strange, far-off quality, perhaps from its nat-
ural assimilation with such widely different
scenes. Of a right it belonged to the night
chorus of a tropical jungle, and was a stray
note from it, as out of place as anything could
well be in this nearness to commonplaceness
It was very dark in the Monkey's den. He
peered out at every new sound, at every new
step and voice, with his two yellow circles
of eyes, which were bright with a curious
blank brightness ; they seemed not to have
the recognition of intelligence until the ob-
ject was within a certain distance.
The Monkey stayed for the greater part
of his time in a swing fixed in the middle of
his cage. He crouched thereon, folding his
arms around the wires by which it was sus-
pended. He crossed his hands upon his
breast, and leaned his head forward in an
attitude of contemplation. He might have
been half asleep, and he might have been
sunken in a reverie. He looked like an epit-
ome of an Eastern sage. He might have
been on the home - stretch towards Nirvana
with that long wrinkle of thought over his
closed eyes, and that inscrutable, unsmiling
width of mouth, and unquestioning bend of
The Bird-Fancier was something of a think-
er, and formed his own deductions from what
he saw. From living so long with these
little creatures below the staff, which never
met his questions with intelligible answers,
he had come to theorize. He was an old man
and not acquainted with books. He had
his own conception concerning the Monkey
and the rest, unwritten, but not unspoken
to a choice few.
One to whom he divulged his theories was
his old wife, who lived with him in the little
tenement over the shop; one was an old
woman cousin of hers, who lived with them
and worked for her board ; and one was the
Boy. Not one of the three had the least un-
derstanding of anything which he said. If
it was in the daytime, the wife and the old
cousin went on with their work of cleaning
the bird-cages, and the Boy stood before
the Monkey's cage. If it was in the even-
ing, the old cousin knitted, for she was never
idle, and the old wife dozed in her chair, and
the Boy was of course not there, as he
only stopped in the shop on his way to and
from school. The Bird-Fancier had no more
audience than if he had been himself an in-
habitant of some distant jungle, and removed
by force to a cage of civilization; but that
did not disturb him at all. A true theorizer
needs no sympathy unless he has an over-
weening conceit, and the Bird-Fancier was
modest. He talked on, and never knew that
he had no intelligent listeners. "Tell ye
what it is/' he would say, leaning back in
his chair, with his eyes fixed as upon some
far-off teacher, "I have thought it all out.
It's simple enough when you know. You've
all seen how berries and flowers run out.
My brother Solomon, he had a beautiful
strawberry - bed, berries as big as ducks'
eggs, and the next year they had run out,
not much bigger than pease. And my broth-
er Solomon he had an asparagus-bed served
him the same way; and you all know how
pansies run out, till they get back to violets.
All those little things in the shop are men
and women run out. They ain't the begin-
ning, as 1 have heard some say they believed,
but they are the end. When a man dies,
suppose he hasn't lived just the best kind of
a life, but suppose he hasn't been wicked,
not enough to be burned alive in fire and
brimstone to all eternity, but suppose he
ain't fitted to go into a higher sphere, sup-
pose he wouldn't be happy there, let alone
anything else; suppose he's just sort of no-
account and little, not bad enough for hell,
but not great enough for heaven, but there he
is, and he's got to be somewhere. Well,
souls that don't go straight to heaven or hell
have got to go again into bodies ; there ain't
any keeping of them apart; might as well
try to keep the three things that go to make
up air apart. Into bodies those little souls
have got to go, but they've got so much
smaller through living no-account lives that
they won't fit human bodies, so into the cats,
and the birds, and the monkeys, and all the
rest they go. They are folks run out. They
are the end, or they will be when they finally
die out, and all the animal races do. Take
that Monkey. Just look at him. He's
thousands of years old. He is just as likely
as not one of the Bible Pharaohs run out.
See him ! When he looks up because he
hears a noise, that noise brings back things
to that Monkey that date from the foundation
of the earth. There's what's left of some-
thing more'n you and 1 have ever known in
that little head of his. Look at the way he
uses his little hands! How did he learn to
do that? 1 tell ye there is the key to Genesis
and Revelation in that little Monkey, if any-
body knew how to use it."
Perhaps because the Bird-Fancier regarded
the Monkey in such philosophical fashion
he did not care for him as a pet, but in fact
he made pets of none of the little creatures in
his shop. He regarded them all simply from
a philosophical and financial point of view.
He kept them well fed and clean, and sold
them with alacrity whenever he was able.
Then he forgot all about them. As for the
old wife and the cousin, they were on a higher
range of stupidity than the animals, and won-
dered at the other women who came into the
shop and talked to the birds and cats as if
they were children. They themselves would
never have talked in such fashion to children.
So it happened that the Monkey had no
real friend except the Boy. The Boy loved
him with devotion, and he proved it. He
saved every bit of his scanty pocket-money
to buy delicacies for the Monkey — fruit and
loaf-sugar and peanuts. He was very fond
of sweets himself, and also of fruit, but he
seldom tasted any except when the Monkey
refused it. Then he ate it, and found it sweet
with the added sweet of generosity.
The Boy was a student at the high-school,
and not considered a promising one. In
fact, he lagged behind all his classes, and
had entered the school only after repeated
trials. He was a saturnine boy, with a face
not unlike the Monkey's own, with a curi-
ously narrow height of forehead, and long
upper lip, and bright brown eyes. He had
outgrown his clothes, and his trousers and
jacket sleeves were too short, and he moved
with hitches of discomfort because of their
tightness. He came of a decent family, to
whom the unnecessary spending of money
was an unwritten prohibitory command-
ment. The father was a clerk on a small sal-
ary ; there were two daughters, employed in
stores. The Boy had no mates among his
companions at school. He was as stupid
at sports as at lessons, and his saturninity
was against him.
The Boy's only pleasures and recreations
were his calls upon the Monkey at the Bird-
Fancier's shop. He stopped on his way to
and from school, and he usually secured a
few minutes at the noon intermission. He
would pass by the canaries and the parrots
and the rabbits, and he had a deeply rooted
aversion for the Angora cats. Straight to
the Monkey's little den he would go, crouch
down before it, and begin a curious, silent,
mouthing motion of his face. Then the Mon-
key would raise himself alertly, dart to the
side of his cage nearest the Boy, and respond
with an exactly similar motion. Now and
then he would reach out one little hairy hand
and it would cling around the Boy's fingers
like a baby's, and all the time the two kept
up that silent, mouthing communication,
which meant Heaven alone knew what to
the Monkey or the Boy. The Boy was the
only one whom the Monkey ever noticed in
such wise. No matter what were the blan-
dishments of any other visitor, he would do
no more than sit upon his swing, rub his
hands aimlessly, and stare over the visitor's
shoulder, as if he saw his shadow instead of
his personality. But for the Boy he always
made that lithe dart to the side of his cage,
and began that silent mouthing. The Boy
and the Monkey looked ridiculously alike at
those times, and the Bird-Fancier used to
eye them with shrewdness, but no mirth.
Sometimes he told his nodding old wife and
her industrious cousin in the evening that
he believed that the Boy was kind of running
out and proving his theory. Once he asked
the Boy why he did not buy the Monkey;
but the price was fifteen dollars, and the
Boy could as soon have purchased an ele-
One day the Boy brought a little looking-
glass and fastened it to the side of the Mon-
key's cage. Some one had told him that
monkeys were very cunning with looking-
glasses; but the result was somewhat pa-
thetic, and strengthened the Bird-Fancier in
his theory. ''He remembers the time when
there was something at the back of the look-
ing-glass, or he wouldn't act the way he does/'
he told his nodding wife and her illustrious
cousin. The Monkey was wont to make a
sudden dart at his reflection in the looking-
glass, and stretch out both poor little arms
past it in a piteous, futile effort of embrace.
Then he would retreat forlornly to his perch.
Sometimes the Boy got on the other side of
the glass and grasped the little outreaching
hands, and that seemed to satisfy the Mon-
key to a certain extent.
Towards night the Monkey became thor-
oughly alert. Life tingled in every nerve
and muscle of his little hairy body. He was
silent as ever, but he swung himself from end
to end of his cage with curious doublings
and undoublings. Doubled, he looked like
a little man ; undoubted, there was a sudden
revelation of a beast. He clung to the wires ;
he revealed his chest, which was a beautiful
blue color ; the frown over his yellow eyes in-
creased ; he reached out for everything near
his cage. If by any chance he could catch
hold of anything, he was rejoiced.
He was never let out of his cage. He was
a gentle monkey, but his owner had a per-
fect faith in his desire for mischief.
There was one superb black and white An-
gora cat which had the liberty of the shop
and was not confined in a cage, and he used
sometimes, though at a wary distance, to
pass the Monkey's cell. Then the Mon-
key broke silence. He chattered with rage,
he reached out a wiry little claw to incred-
ible distances. Once he tweaked the cat's
ear, and it fled, spitting. "That Monkey
would kill the Cat if he got loose/' said
the Bird - Fancier, and the Monkey would
indeed have been rejoiced to kill the Cat. He
would also have been rejoiced to kill some
of the other inhabitants of the shop, though
not so much because he hated them as be-
cause of the longing for destruction which
was in his blood. It was hard for a thing
used to the wild liberty of the jungle to be
kept in a little den under the counter of a
city shop. In the jungle he could at least
have torn leaves to shreds, he could have
swung from bough to bough, festooning
himself in wonderful leaping curves of life,
he could have killed those things which were
weaker than himself, or have fled chattering
with futile rage before those which were
stronger, or he could have died in unequal
combat. It would have been something to
have had the liberty of death. The deadly
monotony of his life wrought up the gentle
little creature to the point of madness when
night came on. He was, as it were, choking
for liberty. He glared forth at the canaries
and the rabbits, he showed all his teeth at the
Bird-Fancier when the old man gave him
the banana which was his nightly meal,
and clutched it through the wires with vicious
greed. Then he would tear off the rind, and
so doing catch a glimpse of the monkey in
the looking-glass, and drop his supper, and
spring for him, and reach out those pathetic
little empty arms.
"He is the gentlest monkey 1 ever saw/'
said the Bird -Fancier; "but for all that,
I wouldn't let him loose in the shop."
The Bird-Fancier had owned the Monkey
about a year, when one night, through some
oversight, the cage door was left unfastened,
and the Monkey escaped. He worked at the
catch for a long time, and at last it yielded,
and he was free.
It was about two o'clock in the morning,
and the full moonlight lay in the shop, and
besides that was the white glare of electricity
from across the street. It was so light that
occasionally a canary thought it was day
and woke and chirped, and the parrots stirred
uneasily, and shrieked or laughed.
The Monkey slipped out of his cage, and the
greatest joy which he had ever known was
upon him. He was a vibration of liberty;
not a nerve in his little body but thrilled with
the utmost delight of life and freedom. He
went about the shop with long lopes. He
did not look so much like a little man as like
a beast. The beautiful black and white
Angora cat was sleeping peacefully on top
of the white -mice cage, and the Monkey
spied him, and made one leap for his back.
Then he rode him furiously around the shop,
winding his wiry arms in a strangling em-
brace around his neck, but the Cat escaped
by a wild plunge through the window, and
the Monkey slid off. He could have followed,
but he had other things to attend to. He
flew at a little golden ball of sleeping canary
in his tiny cage, then at another, and another,
then at the gold-fishes. The parrots he let
alone, after he had shrewdly eyed their hooked
beaks. He had thoughts of the rabbits which
stood aloof in their cages with dilated pink
eyes of terror, and supplicating hang of paws,
and quivering nostrils, but they were as large
as the Monkey, and he had no knowledge as
to their powers of defence ; besides, he could
not easily get at them. But he loved to pull
the gold-fishes out of their crystal bowls
and watch them gasp on the floor, and
he enjoyed the flutterings of the canary-
It was quite a long time before the cousin
up-stairs awoke. She woke first, because she
was the lightest sleeper. Then she spoke
to the Bird-Fancier, and told him that some-
thing was wrong in the shop, and all three
hurried down, thinking it was fire. But
it was only a little spark of liberty let loose
to work its own will.
The Monkey had wrought considerable
destruction; several canaries would never
trill again, and a number of gold-fishes lay
strewn about the floor. The Bird-Fancier
whipped the Monkey back to his cage, and
fastened the door, and the little animal
caught sight of his reflection in the looking-
glass and darted towards it with outstretched
"That Monkey has destroyed more than
he is worth/' the Bird-Fancier told his wife
and her cousin. " There is no profit in keep-
The next morning he gave the Monkey
his breakfast as usual, and said nothing by
way of reproach, being alive to the absurd
futility of it. But he looked at him, and the
Monkey showed all his teeth, and clutched
his little dish of bread and milk and flung it
on the floor of his den.
When the Boy came in on his way to school
the Bird-Fancier, contrary to his custom,
waxed loquacious. He pointed to the bodies
of the dead canaries and the gold-fishes.
"See what your Monkey has done in the
night/' he said.
The Boy looked soberly at the dead birds
and the fishes, then at the man.
"He has killed more than he is worth/'
said the Bird-Fancier.
Then the cousin, who was cleaning the
cage of one of the dead canaries, piped up in
a slender, shrill voice, not unlike a bird's:
"Yes, only see! And if I hadn't woke just
as I did, he would have killed the whole shop-
ful. Better leave monkeys in their woods
where they belong."
The Boy looked from one to the other, but
he said nothing. Then he went as usual to
the Monkey's den, and the Monkey came to
the side of it, and the two mouthed at each
other silently with perfect understanding.
When the Boy was leaving the shop the
Bird-Fancier stopped him. He had been
having a whispered consultation with his
"See here," he said; "if you want that
Monkey, you can have him." The Boy
turned pale and stared at him. " I will put
him in an old parrot-cage," said the Bird-
Fancier, " and you can stop and get him this
"For nothing?" gasped the Boy.
"Yes, for nothing," replied the Bird-Fan-
cier. " I am tired of keeping him. Monkeys
ain't very salable/'
"For nothing?" repeated the Boy.
"Yes, you needn't pay a cent/' said the
Bird-Fancier, looking at him curiously.
Such an expression of rapture came into
the Boy's face that it was fairly glorified.
It was broadened with smiles until it looked
cherubic. His brown eyes were like stars.
"Thank you/' he stammered, for he was
at that time of life when he was ashamed of
saying thank you. Then he went out, and
to school, and for the first time in months
learned his lessons with no effort, and seemed
to see truths clearly, and not through a fog.
He had a great happiness to live up to, and
for some minds happiness is the onty dispeller
of fogs ; the Boy's was of that sort.
After school he ran all the way home to
make sure that the Monkey would be wel-
come, and that his mother would not refuse
him shelter, then he went without his din-
ner to fetch him.
When the Boy arrived at the Bird -Fan-
cier's the Monkey was all ready to depart,
ensconced in the old parrot-cage. The Boy
went out of the store, dragged to one side
with the weight of his precious burden, and
for the first time in his life the ecstasy of pos-
session was upon him. He had never fairly
known that he was alive until he had come
into the ownership of this tiny life of love.
The Bird-Fancier watched him going down
the street, and turned to his wife, who was
stroking the Angora cat, and the cousin,
who was feeding a canary which had just
arrived. The Boy, going down the street,
had his face bent over the Monkey, and the
two were mouthing to each other. "I am
right, you may depend upon it," he said.
" There goes one monkey carrying another. "
THE Squirrel lived with his life-long mate
near the farm-house. He considered
himself very rich, because he owned an Eng-
lish walnut-tree. Neither he nor his mate
had the least doubt that it belonged to them
and not to the Farmer. There were not many
like it in the State or the whole country. It
was a beautiful tree, with a mighty spread
of branches full of gnarled strength. Near-
ly every year there was a goodly promise
of nuts, which never came to anything, so
far as the people in the farm-house were
concerned. Every summer the}?' looked
hopefully at the laden branches, and said
to each other, u This year we shall have nuts/'
but there were never any. They could not
understand it. But they were old people;
had there been boys in the family, it might
have been different. Probably they would
have solved the mystery. It was simple
enough. The Squirrel and his mate con-
sidered the nuts as theirs, and appropriated
them. They loved nuts; they were their
natural sustenance; and through having
an unquestioning, though unwitting, be-
lief in Providence, they considered that nuts
which grew within their reach were placed
there for them as a matter of course. There
were the Squirrels, and there were the nuts.
No nuts, no Squirrels. The conclusion was
obvious to such simple intelligences.
As soon as the nuts were ripe the Squirrel
and his mate were busy all day, gathering
the nuts, and then carrying them to their
little storehouse under the wood - pile. Back
and forth they sped with such smooth swift-
ness that it was no more perceptible than
the passing of a beam of light.
The Squirrels were very near the color tones
of the tree, which, moreover, held its leaves
late; only a boy would have been likely to
spy them out.
"It is a strange thing about those nuts,"
the Farmer's Wife often said to her husband,
peering up at the tree with her dim old eyes,
and he assented. The old couple were given
to sitting out on their porch after supper as
long as the evenings were warm enough,
and it was a late autumn that year. There
were occasional frosts, but summer-like days
The Farmer and his Wife were a fond old
couple. They had never had any children,
and the sympathy of their own natures had
drawn them more closely together through
the long years. They looked and thought
alike. If anything, the Wife had the stronger
nature of the two, but both of them were gen-
tle, yet with a certain wariness and shrewd-
ness, not unlike that of the Squirrels. They
were very careful of their money, and saved
every penny, and had made considerable
provision for their old age. They looked
forward to nothing except perfect peace and
comfort on this earth for the rest of their lives,
and as for what would come after — they had
a religious hope.
They had always looked at their English
walnut-tree and speculated as to what could
have become of the nuts, but the speculation
did not disturb them at all. They took things
which had happened for some time easily, be-
ing gently conservative to the bone. " Seems
as if them nuts must drop off that tree and
be picked up/' said the Farmer, "but there
ain't no boys/'
"No, there ain't no boys/' said his Wife.
Sometimes the Farmer used to walk about
under the tree and look on the ground for
fallen nuts, and his Wife did likewise, but
they never found any. They were not
aware of four of the keenest eyes of watch-
fulness and wariness in the whole world in-
tent upon them from some corner of hiding.
Now and then they saw one of the Squirrels
slipping along the stone wall, and looked at
him with that interest which always attaches
to a Squirrel, perhaps because the swiftness
of his passing from observation gives him
a certain rarity and preciousness. Some-
times the Farmer's Wife observed one sitting
upright on the wall, holding a nut in his fore-
paws and nibbling at it boldly. " Maybe he
has got one of our walnuts," said she.
"He couldn't get the whole treeful," said
"No, he couldn't," assented the Wife.
The capacity of the Squirrels for excelling
in their given walk of life was as much of a
secret to them as was theirs to the Squirrels.
It was in the bright, clear morning that
they oftenest caught glimpses of the Squir-
rels, for the morning was their period of full-
est life and activity. Then, when the smell
of passing leaves and ripened fruit was in
the air, and the grass was white and crisp
with something between frost and dew, did
the Squirrels feel their joy of life to the ut-
most. They darted hither and yon, mostly
unobserved, since they could fairly outspeed
human observation. Not a nut that fell
from the tree escaped them. They went to
and fro between the tree and their hoard
under the wood-pile. They were very rich
indeed. That year there had been nearly
a bushel of nuts on the English walnut-tree,
and they garnered them all. The same de-
light in their providence, and sense of self-
gratulation, and security as to the future,
were over them as over the old couple in the
farm-house. They too looked forward to
peace and comfort on earth; as for the un-
known future, they did not dream it existed.
They had no religious hope, but their utter
lack of questioning made them too trustful
for any anxiety. They had no premonitions
of a future stage when there might be no stone
walls for running along, and no nut-trees,
and yet Squirrels. Their needs and their
supplies w r ere entireties not to be separated
by any conception of theirs.
When they had garnered every nut from
the English walnut-tree they were indeed an
opulent pair. They were, of course, acquaint-
ed with other Squirrels, but none of them
approached themselves in point of richness.
None of the others had English walnuts,
and none had such a plentiful store. They
looked forward to a winter of fatness and lux-
ury and love, for the two little creatures loved
each other as faithfully as did the old couple
in the farm-house. None of the other Squir-
rels knew of their hiding-place under the
wood-pile, nobody had discovered the cunning
passage which led to it. It was the last
of October, and they felt perfectly secure.
They had reached that point, so seldom
reached by either Men or Squirrels, when
care as to material things is over. Then
came the day of their downfall.
The Farmer's Wife thought that the wood-
pile should be taken down, and the wood split
and stored in the shed before winter set in,
and the Farmer obediently began the task.
It was not a large pile, and he was too thrifty
to hire help. He chopped away patiently
day after day, but it was a long time before
the Squirrels fairly took alarm for the safety
of their store. They had grown to believe
in its impregnability, and the impregnability
"They chattered angrily'
of their right of possession. They kept out
of the way while the old man was at work,
scampering in the autumn woods, enjoying
themselves, and always with the thought of
their bountiful provision for the future in
At last they began to grow anxious. They
hung aloof and chattered angrily. They
sat on the stone wall with great tails arching
over their backs, so near that the gentle old
man thought they must be growing tame,
and at last the blow fell.
One morning the Farmer discovered the
Squirrels' hoard. He went into the house
and told his Wife. "What d'ye think?" he
said. " It was them Squirrels that have stole
all them English walnuts."
" You don't say so !" said she.
"Yes, they have. There's nigh a bushel
of them under the wood-pile."
"You don't say so!" said she again.
The old couple went out together and look-
ed at the winter hoard of the other couple.
"Well," said the Farmer's Wife, "you'll
have to get the bushel basket and pick them
up and bring them into the house, and spread
them out on the garret floor. It's the first
time we've ever had any nuts off that tree.
I declare, them Squirrels have been stealing
them all this time!"
The old man hesitated. He was as thrifty
as his Wife, and had as great a pleasure in
possessions, but he had more points of view.
" Seems kind of too bad when they've worked
so hard/' he remarked.
" Why is it too bad? Ain't they our nuts?"
said his Wife, with wonder in her soft eyes.
" They've stole our nuts."
"Well," said the old man.
He got the bushel basket and gathered up
the nuts. There was distracted, but wary,
comment from the Squirrels. They skir-
mished about or the stone wall, and watched
this run upon their little bank with unavail-
ing chatters of protest. At this time, if they
had had faith, they might have lost it. At
the beginning of winter the Squirrel and his
mate, no longer young, were thrown upon
the world penniless, and all their season's
labor was lost.
When the nuts were all heaped up on the
garret floor the old man and his Wife looked
at them. The old man was still doubtful.
" It seems most too bad, when they've worked
so hard, don't it?" he said, with a break in
"Ain't they our nuts, and didn't they steal
them?" returned his Wife. She was as kind-
ly as her husband, except when it came to
questions of sheer justice ; then she was piti-
But the old man was still anxious. All
that day he had an eye upon the frenzied
Squirrels darting hither and thither along
the wall, with occasional peeps of unbelief
that the worst was true, at their violated
storehouse. That night he went down to
the village store and purchased a bushel of
shagbarks, and brought them home, leaning
painfully to one side with their weight. He
stole out to the wood-pile, all unseen by his
Wife, and deposited them in the Squirrels'
hiding-place. The next day, and several
days after that, he had an attack of rheuma-
tism and was unable to chop wood.
Then a light snow came, the first of the
season, and he said to his Wife that he didn't
know but it might be just as well to leave the
rest of that wood-pile for a while, seeing as
he was so lame in his joints and the wood was
so wet, and the shed nigh about full anyway.
And she assented, saying that she guessed
there was about enough wood in the shed
to last till spring, and she didn't want him
to get any more cold, and it cost so much to
hire help. She suspected nothing about the
shagbarks and the Squirrels, and the old
man did not tell her, though he felt guilty.
He had never been in the habit of concealing
anything from his faithful old helpmeet,
not even his good deeds. But there are some
deeds which are too intimate with one's self
and God for even the listening ear of human
love, and too much a part of the soul for even
wedlock to unveil. Then, too, the old man
was afraid that his Wife would think that
he had been extravagant.
That winter the Farmer used often to gaze
out of the window from behind his Wife's
blooming row of geraniums, and think with
a sensation which was like a warmth in his
soul how the Squirrels were supplied with
plenty for their needs until spring. But he
crept out one day when his Wife was away
and investigated, and not a nut was in the
storehouse. He straightened his rheumatic
back painfully and stared at the little empty
cellar. Then the chatter of a Squirrel struck
his dull ears. He looked for a long time,
and finally spied him sitting on the stone wall,
eying him with the wariest eyes of incipient
motion, his tail already stiffened for flight.
''Wonder if that's one of 'em?" thought
the old man. He could not know that the
Squirrel and his mate had moved all their
new store of nuts to another hiding-place in
the woods at the foot of a birch-tree, because
they were filled with suspicion and distrust
of him. His restitution was nothing. What
were shagbarks to English walnuts? They
were of an inferior quality anyway, and how
did they alter the fact of the appropriation
of the others?
The gentle old man whistled. "Be you
the thief?" he asked.
Then the Squirrel began to chatter fiercely
at the Farmer, though he was always ready
to fly at his slightest motion. The frosty air
seemed to fairly shiver and shake with that
tiny volley of accusation. There was the
thief who had stolen the store which had been
provided for himself and his mate by the
Providence which had created them. There
was the thief who had sinned doubly, both
against them and that Providence which had
shaped both their need and their supply.
Finally the old man went back to his house,
and the Squirrel slipped swiftly away along
the stone wall towards his secret dwelling.
When the Farmer's Wife returned, she pro-
posed cracking some of the English walnuts.
"They must be dry enough now/' she said.
So the old man brought down some from the
garret, and fell to work. " I dun 'no' as I want
any/' he remarked, as he pounded. " I never
did care much about nuts anyway, and some-
how I've always felt as if we'd stole the
Squirrels' after they'd worked so hard."
"How silly you be!" said his Wife, but
she looked at him lovingly. " You were al-
ways too tender-hearted for your own good.
Talk about stealing, it was the Squirrels
that stole our nuts."
But the Squirrel and his mate, whose an-
cestors had held the whole land, and the fruit
thereof, in feudal tenure to the Creator of it
all, since the beginning of things, had dif-
ferent views. They were in the woods cham-
ping their supper of shagbarks, and often
finding a wormy one, and they considered
that the Farmer had stolen their nuts.
THE LOST DOG
THE LOST DOG
THE dog was speeding, nose to the ground ;
he had missed his master early in the
morning; now it was late afternoon, but at
last he thought he was on his track. He went
like a wind, his ears pointed ahead, his slen-
der legs seemingly flat against his body;
he was eagerness expressed by a straight
line of impetuous motion. He had had noth-
ing to eat all day ; he was spent with anxiety
and fatigue and hunger; but now, now, he
believed he was on his master's track, and
all that was forgotten.
But all at once he stopped, his tail dropped
between his legs, and he skulked away from
the false track in an agony of mortifica-
tion and despair. It had ended abruptly at
a street corner, where the man had taken
a carriage. He doubled and went back for
his life to the last place where he had seen
his master in the morning. It was a crowd-
cd corner, and the people were passing and
repassing, weaving in and out, a great con-
course of humanit}^ following the wonderful
maze of their own purposes.
The dog sniffed at the heels of one and an-
other. He followed and retreated ; he dodged
and skulked. He was a thing of abject apol-
ogy, and felt no resentment at a kick when
he got in the way of that tide of human prog-
ress. The dog without his master was like
modesty without raiment, like a body with-
out a soul. Without his master he was not
even a dog; he was a wandering intelli-
gence only, and had fallen below his inher-
itance of dog-wit.
He yelped now and then, but his yelp would
have been unintelligible to another of his
species. He put his nose to the ground;
the confusion of scents and his despair made
him, as it were, deaf in his special acuteness.
He blindly ran after this one and that one.
Now and then he heard a voice which made
his heart leap, and was after the owner at a
bound, but it was never his master.
The city lights were blazing out and the
raw night settling down ; on the corner were
two steady interweaving streams to the right
and left of people going homeward, and all
THE LOST DOG
with the thought of shelter and food and
fire and rest.
Finally the dog fastened his despairing
eyes upon a man coming around the corner,
and he followed him. He knew he was not
his master, but there was that about him
which awakened that wisdom of dependence
which had come down to him through gen-
erations. He knew that here was a man
who could love a dog.
So he followed him on and on, moving
swiftly at heel, keeping well in shadow, his
eyes fixed anxiously upon the man's back,
ready to be off at the first symptom of his
turning. But the man did not see him until
he had reached his home, which was a mile
beyond the city limits, quite in the country.
He went up to a solitary house set in a deep
yard behind some fir-trees. There were no
lights in the windows. The man drew a
key from his pocket and unlocked the door.
Then he saw the dog.
He looked hard at the dog, and the dog
looked piteously at him. The dog wagged
his tail in frantic circles of conciliation. The
full moon was up, and there was a street-
lamp, so the two could see each other quite
distinctly. Both the dog and the man were
thoroughbreds. The dog saw a man, young,
in shabby clothes, which he wore like a gen-
tleman, with a dark and clear-cut face. The
man saw a dog in a splendid suit of tawny
gold hair, with the completeness of his pure
blood in every line and curve of his body.
The man whistled; the dog pressed closer
to him; his eyes upon his face were like a
woman's. The man stopped and patted the
dog on his tawny gold head, then entered
the house and whistled again, and the dog
followed him in.
That evening the dog lay on an old skin
rug before the hearth-fire, but uneasily, for
his new master was doing something which
disturbed him. He was singing with a mag-
nificent tenor voice, and the dog was vaguely
injured in his sensibilities by music. At
first he howled, but, when the man bade him
be quiet, he protested no longer, except for
an occasional uneasy roll of an eye or twitch
of an ear at a new phrase.
The dog had had a good supper; he had
eaten rather more than the man. There
was plenty of wood on the hearth, though
the reserve was not large. But the man
who sang had the optimism of a brave soul
which, when it is striving to its utmost, can-
"Both the dog and the man were thoroughbreds"
THE LOST DOG
not face the image of defeat without a feeling
He was a great singer; he had been born
to it, and he had worked for it. Some day the
material fruits of it — the milk and honey of
prosperity — would be his; in the meantime
there was his voice and his piano ; and while
there was wood, let his hearth-fire blaze mer-
rily ; and while he had a crust, let him share
it with a dog that was needy.
Now and then the man in the intervals of
his singing patted the dog, and spoke to
him caressingly; and the dog looked at
him with a gratitude which reached immen-
sity through its unspeakableness.
The dog wore no collar, and the man mar-
velled at that.
It was midnight when there came a step
at the door and a ring, and the dog was on
his feet with a volley of barks. He was
ready to charge a whole army for the sake
of this man whom he had known only a few
hours. But in this case he would have at-
tacked, not an enemy who threatened his
master's safety, but a friend who brought
him wealth and fame.
When the man returned to the room with
the out-of-doors cold clinging to him, his face
was radiant, jubilant. The tenor who had
been singing in the opera-house had broken
his engagement, and the manager had come
He told the dog, for lack of another com-
panion, and the dog reared himself on two
legs, like a man, in his ecstasy of joyful com-
radeship, and placed his paws on the man's
shoulders and licked his young face. Then
the man sat down at his piano, and sang
over and over his part in the opera, and the
dog gave only one low howl under his breath,
then lay down on the skin rug, with twitching
ears and back.
That night the man's golden age began,
and the dog shared it. His new master had
his share of superstition, and regarded the
old saying that a dog following one brought
luck, and had, besides his love for the animal,
a species of gratitude and sense of obligation.
In the days of luxurious living which fol-
lowed, the dog was to the front with the man.
He rode with him in his softlv cushioned car-
riage to the opera-house, and slept in his
dressing-room while the music and the ap-
plause went on. Occasionally he would
make a faint protesting howl when a loud
strain reached his ears. The dog loved the
THE LOST DOG
man for love's sake alone; that which won
the adulation of men was his trial. He loved
him, not for his genius, but in spite of it.
The dog in this new life grew to his full
possibility of beauty and strength. His
coat shone like satin ; he was a radiant out-
come of appreciation and good food; but
palmier days still were to come.
One day the tenor brought home a wife;
then the dog for the first time knew what it
was to be the pet of a woman. Then he wore
a great bow of blue satin on his silver collar,
and often his coat smelled of violets.
The new wife was adorable; the touch of
her little soft hands on the dog's head was
ecstasy; and she did not sing, but talked
to him, and praised him with such sweet flat-
tery that he used to roll his eyes at her like a
lover, and thrust an appealing paw upon her
Then he grew to an appreciation of him-
self; all his abjectness vanished. He be-
came sure of himself and of love. He w r as
a happy dog except for one thing. Always
in his sleep he searched for his old lost mas-
ter. He was never on the street but down
went his nose to the ground for the scent of
those old footsteps.
And one day, when he had been with his
new friends two years, he found him. His
mistress's carriage was waiting, and he be-
side it, one day in spring when they were
selling daffodils and violets on the street,
and doves were murmuring around the church
towers, and the sparrows clamorous, and
everything which had life, in which hope
was not quite dead, was flying, and darting,
and blossoming, and creeping out into the
Then the dog saw his old master coming
down the street, scraping the pavement with
his heavy feet — an old man, mean and mean-
ly clad, with no grace of body or soul, unless
it might have been the memory of, and re-
gret for, the dog. Him he had loved after
the best fashion which he knew. This splen-
did brute thing, with his unquestioning de-
votion, had kept alive in him his piteous
remnant of respect for self, and had been to
him more than any one of his own kind, who
had put him to shame, and sunk him in the
lowest depths of ignominy by forcing his
realization of it.
The dog stood still, with ears erect and tail
stiff, then was after his old master with a
mighty bound. At first the man cursed and
THE LOST DOG
kicked at him, then looked again and swore
'twas his old dog, and stroked his head with
that yellow clutch of avarice for his own pos-
session and his own profit, rather than af-
fection, which was the best his poor soul
But the dog followed him, faithful not only
to his old master, but to a nobler thing, the
faithfulness which was in himself — and may-
be by so doing gained another level in the
spiritual evolution of his race.
""THE parrot was a superb bird — a vo-
ciferous symmetry of green and gold
and ruby red, with eyes like jewels, with
their identical irresponsibility of fire, with
a cling, not of loving dependence, but of
ruthless insistence, to his mistress's hand,
or the wires of his cage, and a beak of such
a fine curve of cruelty as was never excelled.
The parrot's mistress was a New England
woman, with the influence of a stern training
strong upon her, and yet with a rampant
force of individuality constantly at war with
it. She lived alone, except for the parrot,
in a sharply angled village house, looking
upon the world with a clean, repellent glare
of windows and white broadside of wall, in a
yard whose grass seemed as if combed al-
ways by one wind, so evenly slanted was
it. There was a decorously trimmed rose-
bush on either side of the front door, and
one elm-tree at the gate which leaned de-
cidedly to the south with all its green sweep
of branches, and always in consequence
gave the woman a vague and unreasoning
sense of immorality.
Inside, the house showed stiff parallelo-
grams of white curtains, and dull carpets
threadbare with cleanliness, and little pools
of reflected light from the polished surfaces
of old tables and desks, and one glass-doored
bookcase filled with works on divinity bound
uniformly in rusty black.
The woman's father had been a Congre-
gational clergyman, and this was his old
library. She had read every book over and
over with a painful concentration, and after-
wards admitted her crime of light-minded-
ness, and prayed to be forgiven, and have
her soul so wrought upon by grace that she
might truthfully enjoy these godly publi-
cations. She had never read a novel; she
looked upon cards as wiles of the devil; once,
and once only, had she been to a concert of
strictly secular music in the town-hall, and
had felt thereby contaminated for days,
having a temperament which was strangely
wrought upon by music, and yet a total
ignorance of it. She felt guilty under the
influence of all harmonies which did not,
through being linked to spiritual words, turn
her soul to thoughts of heaven; and yet
sometimes, to her sore bewilderment, the
tunes which she heard in church did not so
sway her wayward fancy ; and then she ac-
cused herself of being perverted in her com-
prehension of good through the influence
of that worldly concert.
This woman went nowhere except to
church, to prayer-meeting, to the village
store, and once a month to the missionary
sewing-circle, and to the supper and sociable
in the evening. She dressed always in black,
her face was delicately spare, her lips were
a compressed line of red, and yet she was
pretty, with a prettiness almost of youth,
from that undiminished fire of the spirit
which dwelt within her, as securely caged
by her training and narrowness of life as
was the parrot by the strong wires of his
The parrot was the one bright thing in
the woman's life ; he was the link with that
which was outside her, and yet with that
which was of her truest inwardness of self.
This tropical thing, screaming and laugh-
ing, and shrieking out dissonant words, and
oftentimes speeches, with a seemingly dia-
bolical comprehension of the situation, was
the one note of utter freedom and irrespon-
sibility in her life. She adored him, but al-
ways with a sense of guilt upon her. Often
she said to herself that some judgment would
come upon her for so loving such a bird, for
there was in truth about him as much utter
gracelessness as can be conceived of in one
of the lower creation. He swore such oaths
that his mistress would fairly fly out of the
door with hands to her ears. Always, when
she saw a caller coming, she would remove
his cage to a distant room and shut all the
doors between. She felt that if any one heard
him sending forth those profane shrieks,
possibly to his spiritual contamination, she
might be driven by her sense of duty to have
the bird put to death. She knew, as she be-
lieved, that she risked her own soul by listen-
ing and yet loving, but that she had no cour-
age to forego.
As for the parrot, he loved his mistress,
if he loved anything. He would extend an
ingratiating but deceitful claw towards her
between his cage wires whenever she ap-
proached. If ever she had a torn finger in
consequence, she made light of it, like any
" * Hes coming, Martha ' "
wound of love. He would take morsels of
food from between her thin lips.
When she talked to him with that lan-
guage of love which every soul knows by in-
stinct, and which is intelligible to all who
are not too deadened and deafened with self,
he would cock his glittering head and look
at her with that inscrutable jewel-eye of his.
Then he would thrust out a claw towards
her with that insistence which was ruthless,
and yet not more ruthless than the insistence
of love, and often say something which con-
founded her with its apparent wisdom of
sequence, and then the doubt and the con-
viction which at once tormented and en-
raptured her would seize upon her.
She tried to conceal it from herself, she
held it as the rankest atheism, she thought
vaguely of the idols of wood and stone in
the hymn-book, of Baal, and the golden calf,
and the witch of Endor, and every forbid-
den thing which is the antithesis of holiness,
and yet she could not be sure that her parrot
had not a soul. Sometimes she wondered
if she ought to speak of her state of mind
to the minister, and ask his advice, but she
shrank from doing that, both because of her
natural reserve and because he was unmar-
ried, and she knew that people had coupled
his name with hers. He was of suitable
age, and it was urged that a match for him
with the solitary daughter of the former min-
ister would be eminently appropriate.
The woman had never considered the pos-
sibility of such a thing, although she had
heard of the plan of the parish from many
a female friend. She had had her stifled
dreams in her early youth, but she had not
been one to attract lovers, being perchance
bound as to her true graces somewhat too
much after the fashion of her father's old
divinity books. No man in her whole life
had ever looked at her with a look of love, and
she had never heard the involuntary break
of it in his voice. Sometimes on summer
evenings, she, sitting by her open window,
saw village lovers going past with covert
arms of affection around slim, girlish waists.
One night she saw, half shrinking from the
sight, a fond pair standing in the shadow
of the elm-tree at her gate, and clasped in
each other's arms, and saw the girl's face
raised to the young man's for his eager kiss-
es, the while a murmur of love, like a song
in an unknown tongue, came to her ears.
It was a warm night, and the parrot's cage
was slung for coolness on a peg over the win-
dow, and he shrieked out. with his seemingly
unholy apprehension of things, "What is
that? What is that? Do you know what that
is, Martha ?" Then ended his query with
such a wild clamor of laughter that the lovers
at the gate fled, and his mistress, Martha,
rose and took the bird in.
She set him on the sitting-room table along
with the Bible and the Concordance, and
a neat little pile of religious papers, while
she lighted a lamp. Then she looked half
affrightedly, half with loving admiration,
at the gorgeous thing, swinging himself
frantically on the ring in his cage.
Then, swifter than lightning, down on his
perch he dropped, cast a knowing eye like
a golden spark at the solitary woman, and
shrieked out again :
" What was that? What was that, Martha?
Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha. Polly
don't want a cracker; Polly don't want a
cracker ; Polly will be damned if she eats a
cracker. You don't want a cracker, do you,
Martha? Martha, Martha, Martha, want a
cracker? What was that, Martha? Martha,
want a cracker? Martha will be damned if
she eats a cracker. Martha, Martha, Martha ! ' '
Then the bird was off in such another ex-
plosion of laughs, thrusting a claw through
his wires at his mistress, that the house
rang with them. Martha took the extended
claw tenderly; she put her pretty, delicate,
faded face to that treacherous beak; she
murmured fond words. Then ceased sud-
denly as she heard a step on the walk, and
the parrot cried out, with a cry of sharpest
and most sardonic exultation :
"He's coming, he's coming, Martha!"
Then, to Martha's utter horror, before she
had time to remove the bird, a knock came
on her front door, which stood open, and
there was the minister.
He had called upon her before, in accord-
ance with his pastoral duty, but seldom,
and always with his mother, who kept his
house with him. This time he was alone,
and there was something new in his manner.
He was a handsome man, no younger
than she, but looking younger, with a dash
of manner which many considered unmin-
isterial. He would not allow Martha to re-
move the parrot, though she strove trembling-
ly to do so, and laughed with a loud peal like
a boy when the parrot shrieked, to his mis-
tress's sore discomfiture:
"He's come, Martha, damned if he ain't.
Martha, Martha, where in hell is that old
Martha felt as if her hour of retribution
had come, and she was vaguely and guiltily
pleased and relieved when the minister not
only did not seem shocked with the free speak-
ing of her bird, but was apparently amused.
She watched him touch the parrot caress-
ingly, and heard him talk persuasively,
coaxing him to further speech, and for the
first time in her life a complete sense of hu-
man comradeship came to her.
After a while the parrot resolved himself
into a gorgeous plumy ball of slumber on
his perch, then his mistress sat an hour in
the moonlight with the minister.
She had put out the lamp at his request,
timidly, and yet with a conviction that such
a course must be strictly proper, since it was
proposed by the minister.
The two sat near each other at the open
window, and the soft sweetness of the sum-
mer night came in, and the influence of the
moonlight was over them both. The lovers
continued to stroll past the gate, and a rule
of sequence holds good in all things. Pres-
ently, for the first time in her life, this soli-
tary woman felt a man's hand clasping her
own little slender one in her black cashmere
lap. The minister made no declaration of
love in words, but the tones of his voice were
When he spoke of exchanging with a neigh-
boring clergyman in two weeks, the speech
was set to the melody of a love-song, and
there was no cheating ears which were at-
tuned to it, no matter if it had been long in
When the minister took his leave, and
Martha lighted her lamp again, the parrot
stirred and woke, and brought that round
golden eye of his to bear upon her face flushed
like a girl's, and cried out :
"Why, Martha! why, Martha! what is
Then Martha dropped on her knees be-
side the cage, and touched the bird's head
with a finger of tenderest caressing.
"Oh, you darling, you darling, you pre-
cious!" she murmured, and began to weep.
And the parrot did not laugh, but continued
to eye her.
"He has come, hasn't he, Martha?" said
Then Martha was more than ever inclined
Why, Martha ! What is the matter f 1
to think that the bird had a soul; still she
doubted, because of the unorthodoxy of it,
and the remembrance of man and man alone
being made in God's own image.
Still, through having no friend in whom
to confide her new hope and happiness, the
parrot became doubly dear to her. Curious-
ly enough, in the succeeding weeks he was
not so boisterous, he did not swear so much,
but would sit watching his mistress as she sat
dreaming, and now and then he said some-
thing which seemed inconceivable to her
simple mind, unless he had a full understand-
ing of the situation.
The minister came oftener and oftener;
he stayed longer. He came home on Sun-
day nights with her after meeting. He kissed
her at the door. He always held her little
hand, which yielded to his with an indescrib-
ably gentle and innocent maidenliness, while
he talked about the mission work in foreign
lands, and always his lightest speech was
set to that love-melody.
Martha began to expect to marry him.
She overlooked her supply of linen. Visions
of a new silk for a wedding-dress, brown in-
stead of black, flashed before her eyes. She
talked more than usual to the parrot in those
days, using the words and tone which she
might have used towards the minister, had
not the restraints of her New England
birth and training enclosed her like the wires
of a cage, and the parrot eyed her with wise
attentiveness which grew upon him,, only now
and then uttering one of his favorite oaths.
Then suddenly the disillusion of the poor
soul as to her first gospel of love came. She
went to the sewing - circle one Wednesday
in early spring, after the minister had been
to see her for nearly a year, and she wore
her best black silk, thinking he would be
there, and she had crimped her hair and
looked as radiant as a girl when she entered
the low vestry filled with the discordant gab-
ble of sewing-women.
Then she heard the news. It was told
her with some protest and friendly prepara-
tion, for everybody had thought that the
match between herself and the minister was
as good as made. There was a whispered
discussion among groups of women, with
sly eyes upon her face ; then one, who was
a leader among them, a woman of affectionate
glibness, approached her, after Martha had
heard a feminine voice fingering in the out-
skirts of a sudden hush say :
"She overlooked her supply of linen"
" And she's got on her best silk, too, poor
Martha now looked up, and her radiant
face paled slowly as the woman began to
talk to her. The news seemed to smite her
like some hammer of fate, her brain reeled,
and her ears rang with it.
The minister was engaged, and had, in
fact, gone to be married. He would bring
his bride home the next week ; another min-
ister was to occupy his pulpit the next Sun-
day. He was to marry a woman to whom
he had been attached for years, but the mar-
riage had been delayed.
Martha listened, then suddenly the color
flashed back into her white cheeks — she had
stanch blood in her.
"Well, I am glad to hear it," she said, and
lied with no compunction for the first time
in her life, and never repented it. "I have
always thought it was much better for a min-
ister to be married," she said. "I have al-
ways thought that his usefulness would be
much enhanced. Father used to say so."
Then she took out her needle and thread and
went to work with the others.
The women eyed her furtively, but she
made no sign of noticing it. When one said
to her that she had kind of thought that
maybe the minister was shining up to her,
she only laughed, and said gently that they
were very good friends, but there had never
been a word of anything else between
She overheard one woman whisper to an-
other that, "if Martha was cut up, she would
deceive the very elect/' and the other reply,
"that maybe he had told Martha all about
the woman he was going to marry/'
Martha stayed as usual to the supper and
the entertainment. A young couple sat on
a settee in front of her while some singing
was going on, and at a tender passage she
saw the boy furtively press the girl's hand,
and she set her lips hard.
But at last she was free to go home, and
when she had unlocked the door and entered
her lonely house, down upon the floor in her
sitting-room she flung herself, with all the
floodgates of her New England nature open
at last. She wept and wailed her grief and
anger aloud like a Southern woman.
Then in the midst of it all came a wild wail-
ing cry from the parrot, a cry of uncanny
sympathy and pain and tenderness outside
the pale of humanitv.
" Why, Martha ! why, Martha! what's the
Then the woman rose and went to the cage,
her delicate face and lips so swollen with
grief that she was appalling ; she had even
trailed her best black silk in the mud on her
way home. She was past the bounds of
decency in her frenzy of misery. She opened
the cage door, and the parrot flew out and
to her slender shoulder, and she sobbed
out her grief to him amid his protesting
"Poor Martha, why, poor Martha," he
said, and she felt almost certain that he had
a soul, and she no longer felt so shocked by
her leaning towards that belief, but was com-
But all of a sudden the parrot on her shoul-
der gave a tweak at her hair, and shrieked
"That was a damned cracker, Martha,"
and her belief wavered.
She put him back in his cage and locked
up her house for the night, and put out her
lamp and went to bed, but she could not go
to sleep, for the loss of her old dream of love
gave the whole world and all life such a hol-
lowness and emptiness that it was like thun-
der in her ears, and forced its waking realiza-
tion upon her.
All during the next week, if it had not been
for the parrot, she felt that she would have
gone mad. She went out in her small daily
tracks to the village store, and the prayer-
meetings, and on Sunday to church, her ag-
ony of concern being that no one should
know that she was fretting over the minis-
ter's desertion of her.
She talked about the engagement and mar-
riage with her gentle statelmess of manner,
which never failed her, but when she got
home to her parrot, and the healing solitari-
ness of her own house, she felt like one who
had a cooling lotion applied to a burn.
And she wondered more and more if the
parrot had not verily a soul, and could not
approach her with a sympathy Which was
better than any human sympathy, since it
was so beyond all human laws, but she was
not fully convinced of it until the minister
brotight his new wife to call upon her a few
weeks after his marriage.
She had wondered vaguely if he would do
it, if he could do it, but he came in with all
his dashing grace of manner, and his bride
was smiling at his side, in her wedding silks,
and Martha greeted them with no disturbance
of her New England calm and stiffness, but
inwardly her very soul stormed and protest-
ed; and as they were sitting in the parlor
there came of a sudden from the next room,
where he had been at large, the parrot, Tike a
very whirlwind of feathered rage, and, with
a wild shriek, he dashed upon the bridal
bonnet, plucking furiously at roses and
Then there was a frightened and flur-
ried exit, with confusion and apologies, and
screams of baffled wrath, and rueful smooth-
ing of torn finery.
And after the minister and his bride had
gone, Martha looked at her parrot, and his
golden eyes met hers, and she recognized in
the fierce bird a comradeship and an equal-
ity, for he had given vent to an emotion of
her own nature, and she knew forevermore
that the parrot had a soul.
THE DOCTOR'S HORSE
THE DOCTOR'S HORSE
HE horse was a colt when he was pur-
chased with the money paid by the
heirs of one of the doctor's patients, and those
were his days of fire. At first it was opined
that the horse would never do for the doctor :
he was too nervous, and his nerves beyond
the reach of the doctor's drugs. He shied
at every wayside bush and stone; he ran
away several times; he was loath to stand,
and many a time the doctor in those days
was forced to rush from the bedsides of pa-
tients to seize his refractory horse by the
bridle and soothe and compel him to quiet.
The horse in that untamed youth of his was
like a furnace of fierce animal fire; when
he was given rein on a frosty morning the
pound of his iron-bound hoofs on the rigid
roads cleared them of the slow-plodding coun-
try teams. A current as of the very freedom
and invincibility of life seemed to pass through
the taut reins to the doctor's hands. But
the doctor was the master of his horse, as
of all other things with which he came in
contact. He was a firm and hard man in
the pursuance of his duty, never yielding to
it with love, but unswervingly stanch. He
was never cruel to his horse; he seldom
whipped him, but he never petted him; he
simply mastered him, and after a while the
fiery animal began to go the doctor's gait,
and not his own.
When the doctor was sent for in a hurry,
to an emergency case, the horse stretched
his legs at a gallop, no matter how little in-
clined he felt for it, perhaps on a burning
day of summer. When there was no haste,
and the doctor disposed to take his time,
the horse went at a gentle amble, even
though the frosts of a winter morning were
firing his blood and every one of his iron
nerves and muscles was strained with that
awful strain of repressed motion. Even on
those mornings the horse would stand at
the door of the patient who was ill with old-
fashioned consumption or chronic liver dis-
ease, his four legs planted widely, his head
and neck describing a long downward curve,
so expressive of submission and dejection
"He was a firm and hard man in the pursuance
of his duty "
THE DOCTOR'S HORSE
that it might have served as a hieroglyphic
for them, and no more thought of letting
those bounding impulses of his have their
way than if the doctor's will had verily bound
his every foot to the ground with unbreak-
able chains of servitude. He had become
the doctor's horse. He was the will of the
doctor, embodied in a perfect compliance
of action and motion. People remarked
how the horse had sobered down, what a
splendid animal he was for the doctor, and
they had thought that he would never be able
to keep him and employ him in his profession.
Now and then the horse used to look
around at the empty buggy as he stood at
the gate of a patient's house, to see if the
doctor were there, but the will which held
the reins, being still evident to his conscious-
ness, even when its owner was absent, kept
him in his place. He would have no thought
of taking advantage of his freedom ; he would
turn his head and droop it in that curve of
utter submission, shift his weight slightly
to another foot, make a sound which was
like a human sigh of patience, and wait again.
When the doctor, carrying his little medicine-
chest, came forth, he would sometimes look
at him, sometimes not; but he would set
every muscle into an attitude of readiness
for progress at the feel of the taut lines and
the sound of the masterly human voice be-
Then he would proceed to the house of the
next patient, and the story would be repeated.
The horse seemed to live his life in a perfect
monotony of identical chapters. His waiting
was scarcely cheered or stimulated by the
vision and anticipation of his stall and his
supper, so unvarying was it. The same
stall, the same measure of oats, the same
allotment of hay. He was never put out to
pasture, for the doctor was a poor man, and
unable to buy another horse and to spare
him. All the variation which came to his
experience was the uncertainty as to the night
calls. Sometimes he would feel a slight re-
vival of spirit and rebellion when led forth
on a bitter winter night from his stolidity of
repose, broken only by the shifting of his
weight for bodily comfort, never by any per-
turbation of his inner life. The horse had
no disturbing memories, and no anticipa-
tions, but he was still somewhat sensitive to
surprises. When the flare of the lantern came
athwart his stall, and he felt the doctor's
hand at his halter in the deep silence of a
THE DOCTOR S HORSE
midnight, he would sometimes feel himself
as a separate consciousness from the doctor,
and experience the individualizing of con-
Now and then he pulled back, planting
his four feet firmly, but he always yielded
in a second before the masterly will of the
man. Sometimes he started with a vicious
emphasis, but it was never more than mo-
mentary. In the end he fell back into his
state of utter submission. The horse was
not unhappy. He was well cared for. His
work, though considerable, was not beyond
his strength. He had lost something, un-
doubtedly, in this complete surrender of his
own will, but a loss of which one is uncon-
scious tends only to the degradation of an
animal, not to his misery.
The doctor often remarked with pride that
his horse was a well-broken animal, some-
what stupid, but faithful. All the timid
women folk in the village looked upon him
with favor ; the doctor's wife, who was ner-
vous, loved to drive with her husband behind
this docile horse, and was not afraid even to
sit, while the doctor was visiting his patients,
with the reins over the animal's back. The
horse had become to her a piece of mechan-
ism absolutely under the control of her hus-
band, and he was, in truth, little more. Still,
a furnace is a furnace, even when the fire
runs low, and there is always the possibility
of a blaze.
The doctor had owned the horse several
years, though he was still young, when a
young woman came to live in the family.
She was the doctor's niece, a fragile thing,
so exposed as to her net-work of supersensi-
tive nerves to all the winds of life that she
was always in a quiver of reciprocation or
repulsion. She feared everything unknown,
and all strength. She was innately sus-
picious of the latter. She knew its power
to work her harm, and believed in its desire
to do so. Especially was she afraid of that
rampant and uncertain strength of a horse.
Never did she ride behind one but she watched
his every motion ; she herself shied in spirit
at every wayside stone. She watched for
him to do his worst. She had no faith when
she was told by her uncle that this horse
was so steady that she herself could drive
him. She had been told that so many times,
and her confidence had been betrayed. But
the doctor, since she was like a pale weed
grown in the shade, with no stimulus of life
THE DOCTOR'S HORSE
except that given at its birth, prescribed fresh
air and, to her consternation, daily drives
with him. Day after day she went. She
dared not refuse, for she was as compliant in
her way to a stronger will as the horse. But
she went in an agony of terror, of which the
doctor had no conception. She sat in the
buggy all alone while the doctor visited his
patients, and she watched every motion of
the horse. If he turned to look at her, her
heart stood still.
And at last it Came to pass that the horse
began in a curious fashion to regain some-
thing of his lost spirit, and met her fear of
him, and became that which she dreaded.
One day as he stood before a gate in late au-
tumn, with a burning gold of maple branches
over his head and the wine of the frost in his
nostrils, and this timorous thing seated behind
him, anticipating that which he could but had
forgotten that he could do, the knowledge
and the memory of it awoke in him. There
was a stiff northwester blowing. The girl
was huddled in shawls and robes ; her little,
pale face looked forth from the midst with
wide eyes, with a prospectus of infinite dan-
ger from all life in them ; her little, thin hands
clutched the reins with that consciousness of
helplessness and conviction of the horse's
power of mischief which is sometimes like
an electric current firing the blood of a
Suddenly a piece of paper blew under the
horse's nose. He had been unmoved by
fire-crackers before, but to-day, with that
current of terror behind him firing his blood,
that paper put him in a sudden fury of panic,
of self-assertion, of rage, of all three com-
bined. He snorted; the girl screamed wild-
ly. He started; the girl gave the reins a
frantic pull. He stopped. Then the paper
blew under his nose again, and he started
again. The girl fairly gasped with terror;
she pulled the reins, and the terror in her
hands was like a whip of stimulus to the evil
freedom in the horse. She screamed again,
and the sound of that scream was the climax.
The horse knew all at once what he was —
not the doctor, but a horse, with a great pow-
er of blood and muscle which made him not
only his own master, but the master of all
weaker things. He gave a great plunge
that was rapture, the assertion of freedom —
freedom itself — and was off. The faint
screams of the frightened creature behind
him stimulated him to madder progress.
THE DOCTOR'S HORSE
At last he knew, by her terrified recognition
of it, his own sovereignty of liberty.
He thundered along the road; he had no
more thought of his pitiful encumbrance of
servitude, the buggy, than a free soul of its
mortal coil. The country road was cleared
before him; plodding teams were pulled
frantically to the side; women scuttled into
door-yards ; pale faces peered after him from
windows. Now and then an adventurous
man rushed into his path with wild halloos
and a mad swinging of arms, then fled pre-
cipitately before his resistless might of ad-
vance. At first the horse had heard the
doctor's shouts behind him, and had laughed
within himself, then he left them far behind.
He leaped, he plunged, his iron-shod heels
touched the dashboard of the buggy. He
heard splintering wood. He gave another
lunging plunge, then he swerved and leaped
a wall. Finally he had cleared himself of
everything except a remnant of his harness.
The buggy was a wreck, strewn piecemeal
over a meadow. The girl was lying unhurt,
but as still as if she were dead ; but the horse
which her fear had fired to new life was away
in a mad gallop over the autumn fields, and
his youth had returned. He was again him-
self — what he had been when he first awoke
to a consciousness of existence and the joy
of bounding motion in his mighty nerves
and muscles. He was no longer the doc-
tor's horse, but his own.
The doctor had to sell him. After that
his reputation was gone, and, indeed, he was
never safe. He ran away with the doctor.
He would not stand a moment unless tied, and
then pawed and pulled madly at the halter,
and rent the air with impatient whinnies.
So the doctor sold him, and made a good
bargain. The horse was formed for speed,
and his lapse from virtue had increased his
financial value. The man who bought him
had a good eye for horse-flesh, and had no
wish to stand at doors on his road to success,
but to take a bee-line for the winning-post.
The horse was well cared for, but for the first
time he felt the lash and heard curses ; how-
ever, they only served to stimulate to a fiercer
glow the fire which had awakened within him.
He was never his new master's horse as he
had been the doctor's. He gained the repu-
tation of speed, but also of vicious nervous-
ness. He was put on the race-course. He
made a record at the county fair. Once he
killed his jockey. He used to speed along
THE DOCTOR'S HORSE
the road drawing a man crouched in a tilting
gig. Few other horses could pass him. Then
he began to grow old.
At last, when the horse was old, he came
into his first master's hands again. The
doctor had grown old, older than the horse,
and he did not know him at first, though he
did say to his old wife that he looked some-
thing like that horse which he had owned
which ran away and nearly killed his niece.
After he said that, nothing could induce the
doctor's wife to ride behind him; but the
doctor, even in his feeble old age, had no
fear, and the sidelong fire in the old horse's
eye, and the proud cant of his neck, and his
haughty resentment at unfamiliar sights on
the road pleased him. He felt a confidence
in his ability to tame this untamed thing,
and the old man seemed to grow younger
after he had bought the horse. He had
given up his practice after a severe illness,
and a young man had taken it, but he began
to have dreams of work again. He never
knew that he had bought his own old horse
until after he had owned him some weeks.
He was driving him along the country road
one day in October when the oaks were a
ruddy blaze, and the sumacs like torches
along the walls, and the air like wine with
the smell of grapes and apples. Then sud-
denly, while the doctor was sitting in the
buggy with loose reins, speeding along the
familiar road, the horse stopped; and he
stopped before the house where had used to
dwell the man afflicted with old-fashioned
consumption, and the window which had
once framed his haggard, coughing visage
reflected the western sunlight like a blank
page of gold. There the horse stood, his
head and long neck bent in the old curve.
He was ready to wait until the consumptive
arose from his grave in the churchyard, if
so ordered. The doctor stared at him. Then
he got out and went to the animal's head,
and man and horse recognized each other.
The light of youth was again in the man's
eyes as he looked at his own spiritual handi-
work. He was once more the master, in the
presence of that which he had mastered.
But the horse was expressed in body and
spirit only by the lines of utter yielding and
patience and submission. He was again
the doctor's horse.
T N Juty Bouncing Bet came again, appear-
ing silently, with imperceptible grada-
tions of progress, as was her wont. There
were first an upflinging and outreaching
as of tender naked fingers and arms; then
came the unfolding of her stout, oval-lanceo-
late leaves ; then the swelling of her buds ;
then that morning when the sun was hot and
the wind blew in frequent soft gusts from
the south she was present for the first time
that year in her old place. She was almost
identical with herself of the year before;
there were no changes in her except those
inevitable ones which pertain to the sequence
of existence. She might be a little stockier,
her roots might have thickened, but there
were those same corymbs of loosely flapping,
rose - colored flowers crowning her stout
growth, exhaling the same odor, which was
merely the breath of fresh life, not a com-
pelling fragrance, as was the case with her
cousins of the same race. She was far-
removed kin to the garden pinks, exiled, none
knew in what prehistoric age of flowers,
from close relationship with them to the
dusty, pilgrim ranks of the world, yet hold-
ing to life with undaunted zeal, and main-
taining her own creed of bloom in spite of
scorn and slights.
It was not so long since that she had been
held in some honor; she had been planted
and watered and tended; she had bloomed
a welcome guest in a colonial garden. She
was now like a dainty rag and shred of past
fashion, left fluttering by the wayside from
the passing of some former pageantry, but
she knew no difference between her former
estate and her last, being only a flower. Since
her first setting in motion in her little cycle,
her pendulum-swing between life and death,
she had simply obeyed her law of creation.
She was, indeed, obedience itself manifested
in a clump of oval-lanceolate leaves of dusty
green, and a meek, crowned head of delicate
Behind Bouncing Bet was the remnant of
the old garden where she had first seen life.
Old Parson Lyman had planted the seeds,
which he had brought over from England, in
a border of his garden. The parson had
been a gentle soul, fond of gentle things, like
flowers and singing - birds and murmuring
brooks and green grass. He had preached
fire and brimstone with qualms of unbelief
which he strove hard to swallow, and he died
repenting with his last breath, and humbly
confessing his inability to doubt the loving
kindness and mercy of the Lord. Often in
the parson's day the flower used to be over-
shadowed by a slender height of benignity,
and regarded with affection by eyes which
had not dwelt long upon things more material
than flowers in the world. However, that
made no difference to the flower, which was
simply a thing set in motion by the old man's
will, but immovable as to its principle of ex-
istence by any sentiment of his. The flow-
er put to bloom by the man was as free as the
man put to bloom by God.
This old parson had been a rich man, and
his house had been accounted a mansion.
After his death his married son came there
to live. He had four daughters and two sons,
one of whom afterwards died in the French
and Indian War. Then came a time when,
had the flower been alive in the fullest sense,
she would have seen to remember. The gar-
den was adorned by fairer things than flowers
— by damsels in hooped petticoats of silks
more gorgeous than the roses ; there was an
arbor where lovers sat, and the air was full
of the mystery of love. Then all that passed,
and more of the same, and the past lay more
and more thickly buried under the past, and
finally, when Bouncing Bet returned in this
hot July, everything was so changed as al-
most to have passed that limit of change
where identity ceases.
The road had widened, the old garden had
retreated. Bouncing Bet was far beyond
the precincts in the common highway along
with the common weeds, herself a weed, if
she were ranked with her intimates. The
stately old house leaned heavily towards its
fall, its gambrel roof sagged, there were
patches of moss and mould in the hollows,
its walls were flapping with gray shingles,
and in it lived alone the last survivor of the
line of the old parson who planted the flower.
The last survivor was a woman, of course.
It is generally the woman who survives,
either from her pliability of strength, which
no storm nor stress can affect, or from the
fact that she holds to existence with less te-
"The last survivor was a woman
nacity of grasp, and so does not waste her
life with her effort to save it.
Be that as it may, she lived alone there,
her husband and children being so long dead
that she thought of them with the utter peace
of acquiescence. She had, indeed, acquiesced,
with no questioning, in most of the decrees of
fate. She had a placid temperament, and
was disposed to get her honey from small
things in lieu of great ones. People said that
she had not felt her trials as most would have
done, and, in proof of it, pointed to her face,
young beyond her years, with a blowsy, yet
delicate, bloom of round cheeks, a calm clear-
ness of blue eyes, and smooth crinkles of
yellow hair. "Any woman that can go
through what Ann Lyman has gone through
and not have a gray hair hasn't got feelings/ '
said they, especially Mrs. John Evarts, who
lived in her daughter's new house across the
street. Mrs. John Evarts, who kept house
in the north side, used to sit in her bay-win-
dow and watch proceedings over the way.
She was the one who instigated the plan to
take Ann from her old home and have her
board with Mrs. Jackson Smith, w T ith whom
the town occasionally boarded people whose
former estate and some remnant of present
means seemed to prohibit from the town farm.
Mrs. Jackson Smith was, moreover, a distant
relative of the Lymans, and that made it seem
a milder measure.
" It won't seem anything but going to live
with her cousin/' said Mrs. John Evarts.
She furthermore said that she had lain awake
nights worrying over it. She knew Ann
Lyman would set herself afire, she would
starve to death, she would bring an epidemic
of typhoid into the neighborhood, living the
way she did.
Poor Ann Lyman's easy acquiescence in
circumstances extended to conditions of nat-
ural dirt and disorder. It is possible that it
might have extended as well to original sin
had her lines been cast in different places.
Her neighbors, the rigorously tidy village
women, said that Ann Lyman couldn't see
dirt; possibly she might not have seen sin
had it come in her way; but it never had.
That had not been so inevitable. The dust
of life had not come in her windows to settle
on her soul, but the dust of the country roads
had entered and settled on her furniture, and
she let it remain.
"I don't believe you ever dust, Ann Ly-
man," Mrs. Evarts said one day.
Ann only laughed.
"Do you?" insisted the other woman,
scowling above her forced smile.
"No/' said Ann.
Ann might have argued, with justice, that
she had not much worth dusting. Piece by
piece the stately old furniture of the mansion-
house had been disposed of to the dealers.
There was now little left ; the paint was worn
from the fine panel-work, and rags of carpets
clung to the nails on the edges of the slanting
floors, but Ann could accomplish a great
multiple of disorder with few factors. The
interior of the old house resembled nothing
so much as the interior of a wrecked ship.
Its broken furnishings were all set askance
at one another, every shred of former splen-
dor was in full and defiant evidence, and, in
addition, there was a general effect of all the
lines of construction being awry and off their
true levels. There was not a horizontal line
in the whole house ; there were only the reck-
less slants of waste and destruction by that
fiercest storm of the world, the storm of time.
But all this did not trouble Ann in the least.
When a rocker of her old chair, in which she
had sat by her favorite window for more than
forty years, gave out, she put a stick of wood
in its place, and sat still, and concluded that
she fancied that better than rocking. When
the glass was broken out of her favorite win-
dow, she moved over to another, and thought
the new outlook pleasanter. Every new
groove of life had fitted this easily sliding,
jelly-like old woman; she took her shape
from circumstances ; nothing rubbed her to
her discomfort ; she was the happiest woman
in the village. But her time came.
The afternoon the selectmen, headed by
Jonathan Lyman, the far-away kinsman of
the old Lyman family to which she and the
old house belonged, came to interview her
about the proposed change in her way of
living, there was a transformation. This
smoothly-oscillating- at- every- touch creature
became of a sudden vibrant with pure indi-
viduality. Her flaccid muscles seemed to
harden, the faint bloom on her cheeks blazed,
her loosely smiling mouth was rigid, her
mild eyes pointed as with the glitter of steel.
All human beings, however unassertive they
may be, have some footholds of self, impreg-
nable against assault. Ann's had been
touched, and she stood firm with a great
shock of revolt. She stood up, clinched
and stiffened ; her voice rang out with such
She used to sit in the bay-window
an echo that the selectmen turned simulta-
neously and stared over their shoulders.
There were three of the selectmen; two
were elderly, the third was young Lyman.
He had been pushed forward to do the speak-
ing to Ann. He had opened glibly enough.
He was confident by nature, and of an im-
perious turn. Then, too, his sweetheart
was Mrs. John Evarts's granddaughter,
and she had advised this measure. He
stated, pitilessly candid, and yet with no
thought that his candor was pitiless, being
one of those to whom the truth is its own
vindication, the facts of the case. He point-
ed out to this lone woman her poverty, her
untidiness, her lack of thrift, her indolence ;
he descanted upon the injury to herself and
others; he descanted upon the superior ad-
vantages of the home which had been pro-
vided for her; he mentioned the fact that
the savings-bank held an overdue mortgage
on the property; he concluded by ordering
Ann to be in readiness to move the next day.
But even he, as well as his colleagues, was
aghast at the result. When they turned to
face Ann after that first incredulous glance
over shoulders for some other source of that
unexpected voice, each had the same help-
less gape of astonishment. They listened
speechless, too amazed to shuffle in their
"This old house/' said Ann, with a ring-
ing eloquence of desperation — " this old house
has belonged to my father's family for over
a hundred years, and you talk about turning
me out of it! Me! Me! Why don't you
turn the chimney out? Why don't you pull
down the door-post? I'm as much a part of
it. Root up the box out in the yard ; pull up
that clump of pinies ; tear up the lilac bush-
es ; chop down the poplar-tree that my grand-
father planted! Pull down, root up, but I
tell you leave me be! I belong here! I am
the live thing that keeps it together. What
if I ain't neat? What's neatness to things
that belong to life itself, I want to know?
What if I ain't orderly? Ain't I alive? I
tell you I'm the soul of this old place, and
you want to turn a soul out of a body! I
was born here, and my father before me,
and my grandfather before him. I lived
right along here when I was married; my
children were born here, and they all died
here. Talk about the savings-bank hold-
ing a mortgage ! What's a mortgage? You
can't mortgage things with any show of rea-
son that are a part and parcel of a human
being. Turn me out! Me! Me!"
Suddenly Ann sat down in her broken
rocking-chair again, and a curious defiance
of immovability seemed to settle over her.
She actually looked as if it would need more
than human strength to dislodge her. She
in her rocking-chair seemed as rigidly im-
possible of movement as the pyramids.
The two elder selectmen looked at the young
chairman. There was a flush on his cheeks.
"Well, Mrs. Lyman/' said he, "I regret
to see that you are in such a frame of mind,
but my opinion remains the same, and so
will that of all your friends. At two o'clock
to-morrow I will be here with a carriage, and
I must beg that you will be ready."
Ann made no reply, but she looked at him
as if her soul was rooted fast in all the ages.
The three selectmen went out. One of them,
quite an old man, was fairly pale. " She's
going to take on terribly about going," he
said to the chairman, who smiled scornfully.
There was a cruel vein in him; his hand-
some face was quite unmoved.
The next afternoon he presented himself
at the old house without his colleagues, who
had excuses ready for their absence. He
fastened the horse, hitched in a large covered
wagon, to the old post at the gate; then he
went up to the front door and raised the knock-
er. He waited, but no one came. He knocked
again, with no better result. He looked at
the windows, which were dusty blanks. He
glanced across the way, and saw Mrs. John
Evarts standing in her front door watching
curiously. A girl's pretty, fair face looked
over her shoulder, and he knew it for his
sweetheart's, Flora Evarts. After he had
knocked again in vain, she came running
over, her grandmother following, and pres-
ently her aunt Hannah, who lived in the
house, and had just returned from making
calls, and wore her black silk, which rustled
a good deal and tinkled with jet, and a bonnet
nodding with grasses.
Thus reinforced, the selectman opened
the front door and entered the house. A
shadow moved across the old hall with the
spiral stair in the midst, and they all started ;
but it was only due to a curtain in an open
window swaying in the sudden draught from
the door. They went through all the squalid
rooms. The little party became gradually
augmented until nearly all the neighbors
were there. Most of them were women.
They opened door after door ; they eyed the
revelations of squalor with disgust and a
growing horror. " Something's happened
to her/' one and another whispered. They
peered fearfully into close clothes-presses;
they searched the evil-smelling cellar glooms
and the long, dusty shadows under the gar-
ret eaves. All the party fell back with pale,
shocked faces, even the chairman of the se-
lectmen, at the sight of an old gown hanging
from a high bedpost. But young Lyman's
terror was over in a moment ; he was to the
front, and had gingerly dislodged the gar-
" To think of a Christian woman wearing
a dress like that!" said Mrs. John Evarts.
The old woman held her skirts wrapped
closely around her thin figure ; she held her
nose averted, ready with a sniff of disgust.
The malice in her was only half intimidated
by the fear of what she might at any minute
see in these poor rooms. She had never loved
Ann Lyman, and the reason therefor dated
back to their girlhood. The flaws of her
neighbor had been her chief savor of life,
and she was tasting it now to the uttermost.
At last they had searched the old house
from garret to cellar, and Ann was not there.
There could be no doubt of it. They all
stood together in the north chamber and con-
ferred as to the situation. The north chamber
had been the guest-room of the old mansion,
and was in some respects the best preserved.
There was still a decent straw matting on
the floor, and an ancient green -and -white
paper on the walls, and the ceiling was not
precarious. There lingered also the splendid
carved bureau and the high-posted bedstead.
Ann had refused to sell these, on account
of associations, the violation of which even
her placidity could not face. " My husband
had his last sickness in this room/' she told
the dealer, " and it was fitted up for me with a
new carpet when I was married. I'm going
to let it be a while longer/' It was in this
room that the one attempt at housewifery
was evident. The great feather-bed hung
from the window to air, suspended on the
"I didn't know she ever aired anything,"
remarked Mrs. John Evarts, in a harsh whis-
Flora looked at her disapprovingly.
"You don't know but she's dead, grand-
mother," said she.
" I should be ashamed to be dead and leave
a house looking like this/' said her grand-
"She's run away/' suggested one of the
" She's drowned herself in the well, mebbe/'
whispered another, trembling.
" She must have felt pretty desperate, poor
thing!" said Mrs. John Evarts's daughter.
There were glass dew-drops on the nodding
grasses on her bonnet, and they tinkled as
did the jet beads on her bodice; the silken
breadths of her dress rustled, and her best
shoes creaked when she eased her weight.
She was a stout woman; her cheeks were
blazing, and her mouth drooped piteously at
the corners. "I wish you hadn't said any-
thing about her to the selectmen," she said
to her mother.
"Look at this house," retorted Mrs. John
" Well, you might have let her be as long
as she lived," said her daughter. "She
didn't hurt anybody but herself with the
" She didn't, hey?" retorted the old woman.
She leaned over her daughter, and whispered
fiercely some further disclosures as to the
missing woman's untidiness and actual in-
decency of squalor; but her daughter only
shook her tinkling head; "I'm dreadful
sorry you did anything about it," she re-
Suddenly, as they all stood there confer-
ring as to what was best to be done next,
the girl, Flora Evarts, in her pretty pink
muslin dress, with a pink rose tucked in her
belt, gave a great start. They all turned
and looked at her.
"What on earth is the matter, Flora?"
cried her grandmother, sharply.
"Nothing," replied the girl, quickly; but
her pretty face was very pale.
The young selectman stepped close to her
and looked at her anxiously, but she turned
her back on him sharply.
"What ails you all?" she cried, pettishly.
"If there isn't enough to make anybody
jump! Why don't you go and have the
well dragged and send out some parties to
search, and not stand here talking any
"What made you jump so, Flora?" per-
sisted the selectman.
" Nothing, I tell you," said the girl, sharply.
Then she turned with sudden passion. " For
Heaven's sake/' she demanded, "why don't
you do something? That poor soul will die
if somebody doesn't do something." She
caught her breath in a sob, and again the
selectman looked at her anxiously and won-
deringly. He had never seen her like that.
She was a girl of remarkable poise. But
her energy moved them all. They dispersed,
to drag the well and a near-by pond, and to
organize searching-parties. Not one of the
neighbors had seen her pass. It >vas as if
the old woman had vanished.
At last the north chamber was quite desert-
ed. The last woman had been gone a minute
or so, when Flora E varts came speeding back
like a deer. She rushed to the window where
the feather-bed hung. She caught hold of
it ; she leaned over it.
"Are you there?" she whispered. "An-
swer quick. Don't be afraid. Are you there?"
There was a slight convulsive motion of
the feather-bed, but no other response.
" Don't be afraid. They sha'n't take you
away if you don't want to go," repeated the
girl. " Are you there? Are you most dead?
I must help you out ! Answer me. I'm
Flora Evarts! I'll take care of you! Are
Then there came a stifled groan, then a
gasping sob from the feather-bed. Then
the girl, grasping the edge of the bed with
two nervous little hands, began to tug fran-
tically. She heard a slight sound of rending
cloth. The bed wriggled convulsively. Flo-
ra cast a glance of horror at the ground be-
low. It was not far into the growth of sweet-
brier and caraway bushes beneath the win-
dow in the back yard, but it was too far to
"Reach out your arms if you can," she
cried ; and up came, with a desperate effort,
two skinny, piteous old arms, and the girl
"Oh, you poor soul!" she half sobbed.
" Don't be afraid ; don't be afraid."
" You let go if I've got to be carried away,"
said a muffled voice. She could see the strug-
gling shape of the old woman's head in the
feather-bed. The tick tore a little more at
the hooks. Flora held to the lean old hands
desperately. She braced her feet and pulled.
Somehow she managed it. Ann got her feet
on the edge of the window below, and helped
herself a little. Finally she fell into the north
chamber, and she and the girl sank on the
floor together. Flora struggled to her feet
and helped the old woman out of the feather-
bed. She was grotesquely tragic, her cheeks
shining with heat, her eyes red-rimmed like
an owl's; she was bristling with feathers.
But she held herself with a dignity of mis-
ery which forbade mirth.
"I knew they would find me anywhere
else/' said she. "I didn't care if I did fall
and break my neck. I heard it tear while
you all stood here. You heard it, didn't you,
Flora nodded. She kept her mouth firm-
ly set, but the tears were streaming over her
" You won't let them take me away, will
"No, I won't," declared Flora, in a firm
voice. She heard just then a noise below,
and she flung open the north chamber door
and called. Her lover, the selectman, an-
"Come here," said Flora.
"I'm after a rope — I can't stop," he re-
"You don't need any rope. She's here,"
The young man came rushing up-stairs,
but Flora stood in the north chamber door.
" You can't come in ; you can't touch her,"
" You sha'n't take away this woman from
this house as long as she lives!"
"You shall not, I say."
" If you do, I will never marry you as long
as I live," said Flora.
With that she flung up her hands, still
cramped with the effort of holding to those
other helpless ones of the poor old woman,
and the young man caught her in his arms.
The old woman slipped past them and went
down-stairs to her place by the window. She
leaned her head back in her rickety chair,
and smiled with perfect contentment. She
did not trouble herself to pick off any of the
feathers still clinging to her garments. She
was beyond such matters, as much beyond
as any flower of the field at the mercy of the
wings of winds and settling foreign things.
After a while her kind neighbors came
and assured her that she should remain in
her old home as long as she lived. Mrs.
John Evarts tidied up the kitchen and made
her a cup of tea. Flora brought in some
floating-island, and another woman some
custard-pie. When the last one went away
her larder was quite full.
At sunset Ann Lyman crept out to her
front door-step and sat there in the full of the
passing radiance. Beyond the gate bloom-
ed the clump of Bouncing Bet. Mrs. John
Evarts looked across from her window and
saw them both — the old woman and the
flower, both with a strange unkemptness of
late bloom, both fulfilling to the utmost their
one law of obedience to their first conditions
of life. And she also saw, without compre-
hension, two parallels, separated perhaps
by the width of the eternity of the spirit,
yet as perfect and undeviating as any on the
/^AYLY above the tangled spangle of
the old-fashioned garden waved the
prince's-feather. It waved with a curious
lack of yielding and pliability to the soft in-
sinuations of the breeze, and seemed to re-
main long in its rigid incline, almost as if the
flower had been carven in rosy stone blown
before some wind of the imagination. The
prince's-feather belonged to the order of am-
aranthine flowers which resist complete de-
cay, being armed against it like porcupines
with stiff panoplies of spikes.
One coming down the street, peering over
the garden-hedge of the Holding place, saw
always first the prince's-feather. There were
fairer and sweeter flowers, but that came first
in evidence, thrusting itself like a trumpet
call of color above the mignonette, the sweet
alyssum, the pinks, and the rest. Even the
tall hollyhocks, being retired against the
house wall, were eclipsed. The prince's-
feather seemed to overcap and lead the floral
riot of midsummer with a harmless and
worthless, but unrivalled show and daring.
The garden was in a hollow at the right of
the Holding house, which was very old, but
had lately been improved and rejuvenated
until it seemed disrespectful, to either its age
or its youth, to remember its old corner-stones
and sills, the drunken leanings and waver-
ings of its doors and windows, the undula-
tions of its floors, and the settling and short-
ening of its central chimney like some aged
man whose stature has decreased by 3 7 ears.
Eugene Holding had suddenly become rich,
and had restored the old place, throwing
out, like ostentatious excrescences of a new
growth . porticos, bay - windows, and even a
tower crowned with a cupola on the corner
towards the village square.
Eugene was very young when he came
home from the city where he had been em-
ployed, working his way up — for the fortunes
of the family were at the lowest ebb — in a
great machine factory owned by a distant
kinsman of his mother. Immediately after
he had arrived, the news spread that he had
come into such a fortune that the working
PRINCE' S-FEAT HER
up was unnecessary, since the height was
One evening in May, at sundown, young
Eugene came riding into town on the driver's
seat of the stage-coach which plied between
the village and the nearest railroad centre.
Instead of the little hair-cloth trunk, like
some small animal of an extinct species, with
which he had gone away, two modern affairs
of smooth leather were strapped on behind.
As for Eugene himself, he was radiant, fairly
resplendent. He sat beside the driver, and,
although the other man was over the average
size, he seemed to be head and shoulders
above him. He looked abroad with a gay
confidence in admiration which compelled it.
His handsome face was delicately pink and
white, with a daintily curving golden mus-
tache. His close crop of curly golden hair
was exposed, for he was constantly waving
his hat to people on the road. They returned
his salutations with the surly abashedness
of the rustic, then stood back and stared and
stared again. "Who was that?" one said
to another. "It wasn't Eugene Holding.
Why, he's workin' in Philadelphia. He
can't be home this time of year, and all dress-
ed up that way." The hue of Eugene's coat
had struck awe and disapproval to the hearts
of the men. There was no other coat of that
color in the village.
Before sundown the next day Eugene's
mother had told the news to Mrs. William
Holmes and to Mrs. Catherine Woods, and
they did the rest. The whole village knew,
as by a flash of simultaneous intelligence,
that Eugene Holding had made money and
had come home rich. "He will not need to
do anything more as long as he lives/' said
Eugene's mother. She had a face harsh
in color and outline, yet, curiously enough,
exceedingly gentle in expression; she was
slender and tall, with a settled stoop which
was not ungraceful, being lateral. One
meeting Mrs. Holding thought involuntarily
of a strong starboard wind, and realized dim-
ly an incongruity between her attitude of
body and her motionless skirts. Mrs. Hold-
ing was unusually precise as to her choice
of language, being punctilious as to her will
nots and shall nots, and disdaining contrac-
tions. People in consequence called her af-
fected. They were inwardly resentful and
skeptical when they saw her triumph over her
son. " How did he make his money?" asked
Mrs. William Holmes, with a cold stare,
though she widened her mouth in a smile of
"My son has been exceedingly fortunate
in a business venture, and he will not need
to lift his finger again unless he wants
to/' said Mrs. Holding, adjusting a lacy
crocheted hood which she wore over her
"How did you say he made it?" repeated
the other woman.
"By a fortunate business measure/' re-
plied Mrs. Holding.
"Seems to me Eugene is pretty young to
make such fortunate business ventures/' said
Mrs. Holmes. "How did you say he made
"By a fortunate business venture/' said
That was all she ever would say, and Eu-
gene, in spite of his aggressiveness of frank-
ness, was no more communicative as to the
source of his wealth, about which there seemed
to be no doubt. He commenced immediately
to improve his house, and he purchased a
fine horse and carriage. It was an imposing
spectacle when Eugene drove forth in the
cool of a summer evening, at first with his
mother resplendent in a new silk, a beflow-
ered bonnet, and a jetted mantle, by his side,
and, later on, Camilla Rose.
Camilla Rose's father had been the richest
man in the village; she had money in her own
right, and had " enjoyed advantages/' as the
neighbors put it. "Good reason why Ca-
milla Rose can look so nice and appear so
pretty/' said they. "She ought to; she's
been to boarding-school, and she's travelled
in Europe." They were enviously acquies-
cent when she and Eugene began to be seen
in each other's company. "Birds of a
feather flock together," said they. "Of
course, now Eugene has got money, Camilla
will think he's beautiful. The Roses always
had an eye for money. Besides, his family
counts for something. The Holdings and
the Roses always held their heads above
common folks." This Camilla Rose was a
tall, brown-eyed girl, with a pouting redness
of lips, and a reluctant smile, which gathered
charm from its reluctance. Whoever made
Camilla smile at him was conscious of a dis-
tinct victory. Camilla smiled upon Eugene
rarely, yet often enough to keep alive in him
a supporting sense of encouragement.
However, it would not have been easy for
her to have discouraged Eugene Holding.
Anything like the joyful sanguinity of this
young fellow was seldom seen. He seemed
furnished by nature with some armor of the
spirit which rendered him impervious to
slight and repulse. His mother was proud
of this peculiarity in her son. "If anybody
has ever said no to Eugene, he has gone right
ahead and acted as if he had said yes/' said
she. "Then there is another thing about
Eugene — if ever he has been so situated that
he could not have something that he set his
heart upon, another would do just as well,
and he never seemed to know that he had not
got what he wanted. I remember once when
he had been longing for a new jack-knife,
somebody gave him a top instead, and he
went right to spinning it, and never seemed
to know he was not whittling. 1 never heard
him mention the knife again. Eugene al-
ways gets ahead of his happenings, and he
always will. Nothing that can ever happen
on this earth is going to conquer him. He is
bound to be in the lead of his fate/' Mrs.
Holding was something of a philosopher, and
talked sometimes beyond her neighbors.
That and her precise English caused them
to regard her half with admiration, half with
the defensive ridicule of inferiority. They
regarded Eugene in something of the same
fashion. "He ain't so smart, for all he
cuts such a dash," said they. "His mother
needn't think he is ; he ain't." They looked
at him as he drove by, or walked with a gen-
tle swagger, and a jaunty swing of a slender
cane, and frequent flourishes of his silk hat,
yet, after all, they felt a certain admiration
and liking for him. It was impossible not
to like Eugene Holding. His utter confi-
dence of approval commanded it. One would
have been a churl not to smile back at this
forever-smiling young man, not to return
with some cordiality his imperious, but
wholly charming, even affectionate, saluta-
tion. "Eugene Holding acts as if he was
the lord of all creation," said they, yet with a
certain self-gratulation at having been so
genially accosted by one of such high pre-
Eugene and Camilla were such a hand-
some couple that they were a delight to the
eye when they were seen driving together.
Eugene was taller than the girl; his golden
curly head gleamed beside her brown one.
Camilla's beautiful face was shaded by a
great cloud of brown curls, and a blue feather
floated from her Leghorn hat. She was as
"Eugene and Camilla were seen driving together"
pleasantly conscious of the people whom
they met, and their admiration, as she was of
the young man at her side.
Eugene thought Camilla perfection. He
adored her beauty, yet the memory of it never
dimmed for a moment the image of his own
face in the mirror. He always saw her pretty
gowns and hats, and the sight sent his con-
sideration with the swift recoil of vanity to
his own apparel.
Eugene hurried forward the improvements
on his house; they were completed in July,
and he and Camilla were to be married the
first of August. The villagers passing the
renovated house used to turn back and stare,
and that made Eugene and his mother, sitting
on their new porch, proudly conscious.
Eugene took an especial delight in the lit-
tle cupola which crowned the tower. The
cupola was purely ornamental, and the roof
was painted a bright crimson color, not un-
like that of the prince's-feather in the garden.
Indeed, it might have been unconsciously
suggested by it. Eugene used to stand out
in the front yard and stare happily at this
"Your new cupola looks very gay," said
Camilla's mother to Mrs. Holding one after-
noon as the two ladies sat on the porch. She
did not speak critically; that was not her
way. She simply mentioned facts, and left
her hearers to deduce disparagement or flat-
tery as they chose. Mrs. Holding, like her
son, generally deduced flattery. " Yes, it is
a beautiful color," said she. " Eugene has
always been so fond of bright colors/'
As she spoke Eugene and Camilla came
across the yard on their way from the garden,
and Eugene had a sprig of prince's-feather
waving against the lapel of his coat. He
had also stuck a great spike of it like a plume
in Camilla's curls.
As the two neared the porch Camilla reached
up her hand and pulled out the prince's-
feather and flung it away. "I never liked
that flower," she remarked.
"It is the prettiest flower in the garden,"
declared Eugene, but he only laughed at her
scorn of it, and flung an arm around the
girl's waist, and they came thus towards the
two mothers. There was a strong south wind
blowing, and the two tall figures stiffened
themselves against it. Camilla seemed in a
whirlwind of white flounces and ribbons, out
of which her beautiful face looked with un-
smiling complacency, which was, in effect,
a smile at herself. Eugene had just given
her some diamond ear-drops, which glittered
through her curls ; she had everything which
she wanted ; a measureless satisfaction with
herself, the whole world, and the Providence
which had created her was over the girl, and
no less over the young man. Both of them
looked invincible by any fate. They had
the mien of conquerors as they came across
the yard, with the two elders watching them,
the one with perfect accord, the other with
pride and delight, yet with bewilderment.
Camilla's mother was sometimes bewildered
almost to the point of fear by her daughter.
She herself had never been capable of such
a haughty confidence in the good-will of
Providence, but was rather prepared for a
sanctified and gentle acquiescence towards
hard usage on its part. Mrs. Holding real-
ized dimly that Camilla had an almost con-
temptuous, and her lover a joyfully imperious,
incredulity that the tree of life could grow
anything but plums for them, and she her-
self was conscious of a guilty wonder if it
would not be unworthy so to do, in the face
of such superb confidence.
Mrs. Holding, while she had the greatest
pride in Camilla, yet felt herself more in
sympathy with her younger daughter Jane,
although she had a peevish temper, and was
semi-crippled. One of Jane's limbs was
shorter than the other, and she limped about
with a painful absurdity of gait, which tort-
ured her soul even more than her body.
Jane would never walk beside Camilla. She
used to watch her sister set out to drive with
her handsome lover, as some utterly irre-
deemable Cinderella might have done. It
did not seem as if existence could ever hold
glass slippers and a gold coach for her, least
of all a prince; but such things are always
unexpected, and her day came, though in
what might have seemed a half-hearted and
second-rate sort of fashion. The week be-
fore Eugene and Camilla were to be married,
the young man came to visit his sweet-
heart one evening, and he was gayer and
more unconcerned than ever. They went to
drive, and it was like a triumphal progress.
Eugene bowed to every one with that charm-
ing, almost royal, assurance of conferring a
favor and a grace. Camilla sat beside him
like a queen. It was not until they reached
her gate on their return that he told her
the news, laughing as he did so, as if it
were the pleasantest thing in the world.
"The mine has gone to pieces/' said he,
"What mine?" asked Camilla, in bewilder-
ment. " What do you mean?"
"The mine has gone to pieces, or, rather,
there isn't any mine. There never was.
Isn't it a joke, eh?"
"The one I put the little money we had
left in," said Eugene, smiling. "That was
how I got my money, you know, or, rather,
my prospects. 1 never got much money,
but nobody ever had such prospects. Why,
Camilla, we might have had the earth. Never
was such a mine as they made that out to be. "
Camilla had turned very pale. " What do
you mean?" she said, slowly. "Haven't
you got any money, Eugene?"
"Not a dollar," he returned, laughing;
"had two big dividends, and paid for the
cupola and things, and mother's clothes and
mine, and your diamonds — that's all. Not a
dollar left. 1 didn't tell you what my money
was in, you know, because the prospects were
so big. 1 wanted to surprise you. Never
were such prospects. Camilla, you ought
to have seen the diamond brooch I was look-
ing at for you last week."
" Are you going to work in your old place
again ?" asked Camilla, in a queer voice.
"Oh no/' Eugene replied, cheerfully. "1
am going to stay on here, and raise early
vegetables. I think I can make a good thing
with early vegetables. 1 dare say you'll
get that brooch before the year is out, after
" You don't expect to marry me next week?"
"Why— why not?" cried Eugene, not with
dismay, but a merry, childlike incredulous-
ness that she could mean what she said.
Camilla said no more. She motioned to
get out of the carriage, and Eugene sprang
out to assist her. He caught her in his arms
and kissed her. "Good-night," he called
after her as she went up the path. "I'll be
around to-morrow night." Then he drove
away, and his merry whistle floated back
above the rattle of the wheels and the tap of
the horse's hoofs.
The next evening, when Eugene came to
take Camilla driving, she did not meet him
at the door as usual, all ready in her pretty
gown and hat.
He sat waiting, several people passed, and
he saluted them in his ordinary manner, and
PRINCE' S-FEAT HER
they returned it and went on whispering.
They had heard the news that he had lost his
money — that he had never had any money.
He had been more confidential over his loss
than over his acquisition. He had told every-
body at length all the details of the spurious
mining venture, and had not a word of re-
proach for those who had deceived him. On
the contrary, he seemed to feel nothing but
" They told me there was a wonderful pros-
pect ahead, and so there was/' said he. Then
he would add that if it had not been for that
he might have worked in a factory all his
days, and never been led to think of raising
early vegetables, in which scheme he had
even more confidence than he ever had in
the mine. He had in his pockets some pack-
ages of seeds which he had purchased that
afternoon, though he could not plant them
until the next spring. He took them out
and examined them delightedly as he wait-
ed. He had brought them to show to Ca-
But Camilla did not appear. He was just
about to get out and go to the door when it
opened, and the younger sister Jane stood
there. "Hello, Jane/' Eugene called out.
' Tell Camilla to hurry. Dick doesn't like
to stand. The flies plague him/'
Jane did not answer, but came painfully
limping out to the carriage. Then she spoke,
looking at him with terror and distress, and
something else, which was adoration, but
he did not know it.
" Camilla isn't going to drive with you,
Eugene," said she.
" Isn't going to drive with me? Why not?
Why, what makes you look so pale, Jane?
Are you sick?"
"No. Camilla isn't going to drive with
"Is she sick?"
"No, she isn't sick. She isn't going to
drive with you."
"Why not?" Eugene stared. Suddenly
he fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a
little pink note. "See here," he cried, "I
had this letter from Camilla, but I didn't
dream she meant it. She didn't mean it,
Jane's face quivered a little, though her
eyes were hard. "Yes, she did," said she.
"Camilla has always meant it, if she is my
"She meant it?" repeated Eugene, in-
credulously. "Why, I never dreamed it.
She says/' he continued, eying the letter,
"that she can't marry me on account of the
change in my prospects. Why, my prospects
haven't changed! She says she feels that
she is not suited to be the wife of a poor man.
Why, 1 am not a poor man, and my pros-
pects haven't changed! Say, Jane, did she
tell you about the early vegetables?"
Jane did not reply to that. She only re-
peated, in a sort of mechanical fashion, " Ca-
milla isn't going to drive with you."
"Oh, nonsense!" cried Eugene; "of course
she is. Go in and tell her, that's a good girl,
Jane. Tell her I want to show her the seeds
I've got. I guess she won't think my pros-
pects have changed, then. Go in and tell her,
" I can't," said Jane, half angrily, half pite-
ously. Her little face was a study of con-
"Well, then," said Eugene, good-humor-
edly, "I must go in and fetch her myself.
Stand by the horse a minute, will you, Jane?"
Jane threw up her hand to stop him. " No,"
she cried out. " No, no ! It's no use ! Oh,
it isn't any use, Eugene !"
Eugene stared at her. " Why isn't it any
use? Of course she 11 go. It'll be all right
when 1 tell her/'
"Camilla isn't at home/' faltered Jane.
"Camilla isn't at home?"
"No, she has gone to Boston. She went
over to Barnstable to get the noon train."
With that Jane began crying.
Eugene was silent for a minute. His
bright face had the obscured look of a flower
when the shadow of a cloud passes over it,
but it soon cleared. He looked at Camilla's
sister, who stood before him, balancing herself
painfully on her unequal limbs, trying to
control her tears, and he laughed with his
unconquerable gay ety and good humor.
"Oh, well," said Eugene, "if Camilla has
gone to Boston, she has lost a fine drive, and
why don't you go instead, Jane?"
"Yes, why not? Run and put on your
hat, for the horse doesn't like to stand. The
flies plague him."
When people saw Eugene Holding driving
with Jane Rose instead of her sister, they
could not credit their own eyes. Indeed,
several were always incredulous, and believed
it to have been Camilla, and the plain girl at-
tired in a hat and gown like her beautiful
sister's did bear at a distance a curious re-
semblance to her. It was the same resem-
blance which a misshapen flower bears to an-
other of the same family. They skimmed
along the smooth country road.
Suddenly Eugene cast a startled look at
his companion. "Why, you look like Ca-
milla, Jane!" he cried. "I declare you do.
Did any one ever tell you so?"
"No/' gasped Jane.
"Well, you do/' said Eugene, "and I de-
clare, Jane, you look more like her than you
did when 1 spoke first. 1 want to show you
these seeds 1 have got. It's odd that Camilla
should have thought I have lost my pros-
To this poor little Jane the prospect of a
crown and a throne would have been as noth-
ing beside the fact of the prince. Eugene
married Jane the 1st of September. In
the mean time Camilla returned from Bos-
ton betrothed to another man. She had al-
ways more than one string to her bow. Eu-
gene heard the news with a face which de-
fied the scrutiny of even Jane's jealous eyes.
He did not shun Camilla at all ; he even
jested about her engagement and his own.
"You would not have me, Camilla/' he
said, "because you thought my prospects
were changed. You were wrong as to that,
for my prospects are not changed ; they are
better than ever. But that has nothing to do
with it. We are both suited, after all. I
hear you will have a fine husband, and as for
me, I'm going to be in your family, just the
same. I've got your sister, and she's a dar-
ling. I never dreamed what a darling she
was, and I would never have known if it
hadn't been for you. She is going to make
me a wonderful wife, and she looks like you."
Camilla stared at him, but he smiled back
at her. He was speaking from the depths of
his impregnable and innocently unconscious
egotism, which surpassed her own, and she
felt herself overmatched.
Later on Eugene's wife became an invalid.
Her peevishness increased, and even love
and happiness could not transform her. Eu-
gene would have led a sorry life with her had
he known it, but he never did. He firmly
believed that he had the loveliest and most
amiable wife in the world. His vegetable
scheme failed ; then he tried bees, then small
fruits. Everything failed except his hope
and faith in himself and his future success.
That never for a moment failed him. There
The most amiable wife in the world
was something splendid about the man. He
became, as it were, a very Napoleon of his
own fortunes. Nothing in the hand of fate
could daunt him. He was invulnerable to
circumstances, half laughed at, half ad-
mired by all who knew him. His mother
died, his means decreased, he often went
without the necessaries of life, his house,
which he had so improved, became a shabby
travesty on his former fortunes, he grew old,
but new mountain-tops of hope never failed
to enliven his failing eyes and encourage
his faltering feet.
The garden at the right of the Holding
house grew old, unplanted, and untended,
but the prince 's-feather never failed to come
to the front, proudly waving in all its first
splendor above the disordered hosts of flow-
ers and weeds. And always to the front in
the unfailing spring of all his winters of de-
feat pressed the man, raising aloft his shining
head, which never grew bald, nor gray, nor
wise, as many believed, perhaps justly, hav-
ing that inconsequence which is fatal to suc-
cess, yet blessed with that fairy gift held by
few — the power of keeping unbroken, with all
its rainbow hues intact, the bubble of his own
T N whatever month Arethusa, the nymph
of Elis, fled from her lover Alphe-
us, the river god, her namesake the flow-
er, pursued and overtaken by her des-
tiny of life, arrived in May. She paused
on the border of the marsh, tremulous in
the soft spring wind, clad in her single
leaf-gown of green, drooping delicately
her lovely head, exhaling her sweet breath
deeply, like one who pants after running,
until it might well have betrayed her pres-
ence. But it is seldom that any man
sees the flower arethusa, for she comes
rarely to secluded places, and blooms to
herself. Of all the spring flowers, arethusa
is one of the rarest and the most beautiful
of the great wild orchid family to which
she belongs; she is the maiden. In that
great orchid family are many flowers in
semblances of strange and uncanny things,
of fiends, and elves, and dragons, and un-
classed beings, but arethusa comes in the
likeness of a fair and delicate nymph.
There is about her no horror of the gro-
tesque and unnatural, only tender, timid
bloom, and maybe a gentle dread of love
and a repellent curve of her rosy lip.
Every spring when arethusa appeared
there came another maiden to visit her in
her shy fastness. She belonged to a family
living on the country road, a mile across
the fields. It was a rough way to travel,
but the girl trod it with the zeal of one
friend hastening to see another for the first
time after a long absence. She was small
and spare, with a thin, rosy-cheeked face,
and a close-braided cap of silky dark hair.
Everything about the girl except her hair
seemed fluttering and blowing. She wore
ruffled garments of thin fabrics, and she
walked swiftly with a curious movement
of her delicate shoulder-blades, almost as
if they were propelling her like wings. Her
eyes had an intent expression of joyful
anticipation and unrestrained impulse of
motion. She wore gay -colored gowns —
blues, and pinks, and greens — and she was
exquisitely dainty. She was an only
' There came another maiden to visit her
daughter, and her mother's chief delight
was to adorn her with fine needle -work.
This needle - work seemed the only fully
opened gate between the mother and the
daughter, for their two natures were so
widely at variance that even love could only
cramp them painfully together. The mother
was a farmer's widow, carrying on a great
farm with a staff of hired men and a farmer.
She was shrewd and emulative, with a
stead}^ eye and ready elbow for her place
in the ranks. The only fineness of detail
about her was her love for dainty needle-
work and her delight in applying it to the
decoration of love. Through the long sum-
mer afternoons the mother used to sit beside
her window, plying her needle on fine cam-
brics, and linens, and muslins, and felt
vaguely that by so doing she kept herself
more nearly abreast with the object of her
love and adoration. Sometimes she used
to sigh in a bewildered fashion when she
saw the girl, whose name was Lucy, flut-
tering away across the field, for she was
to her incomprehensibly fond of long solitary
walks; then she would turn for a solace
to the fine hem of her frock, and so seem to
follow at a little distance. As for the girl,
when she danced away across the fields,
a curious sense of flight from she knew not
what was always over her. Her heart
beat fast. She half amused, half terrified
herself with the sound of imaginary foot-
steps behind her. When she reached the
green marsh, she felt safe, both from real
and imaginary pursuers.
Arethusa stood on the border of the marsh,
else the girl could not have penetrated to
her hiding-place. Once there, she stooped
and looked at her. She bent over her and
inhaled her fragrant breath, which seemed
to her like a kiss of welcome. She never
picked the flower. She never quite knew
why she did not.
"There is such a beautiful flower in the
swamp now/' she told her mother.
"Where is it?" asked her mother.
" Oh, in the swamp."
"Didn't you pick it?"
"Why didn't you?"
"1 don't know."
"Well, Edson will go after supper and
get it for you; ma3^be there are more," said
"Oh no, no!" the girl cried out, in terror,
"1 wouldn't have it picked for anything,
mother. It would die then, and it is such
a beautiful flower!"
"You are a queer child/' her mother
said, adoringly but wonderingly.
"Let me try on your new dress now;
1 can't sew the sleeves in till 1 do."
When Lucy slipped her thin girlish arms
into the ruffled muslin, she cried out with
delight. "Why, that is just the color of
the flower!" she said.
"You ought to have it to wear with it
to the party to-morrow night, then," said
"Oh, mother, 1 wouldn't have it picked
for anything!" cried Lucy. Lucy did not
want to go to the party, though she would
not tell her mother so, She was gently
acquiescent towards all wishes of others.
Indeed, the girl herself seemed but a mild
acquiescence towards existence and the gen-
eral scheme thereof. She had no more vi-
tal interest in the ordering of daily village
and domestic life than the flower arethusa
over in the swamp. With her feet of a
necessity in the mould, her head seemed
thrust well outside the garden-pale of com-
She had no real mates among girls of
her age. Her mother was anxious that
she should have, and had made little parties
for her, but from the first, even when she
was a child, Lucy had never come out of
her corner of gentle aloofness.
When it came to lovers, the girl's beau-
ty and sweetness and prospective property
had lured many, but one after another
withdrew, strangely discomfited. They
might as well have sat on a meadow -stone
and wooed a violet as this girl. She was
unfailingly sweet, but utterly unresponsive.
The village young men began to say that
Lucy Greenleaf wasn't as smart as some.
They could explain in no other way her
lack of comprehension of that untaught
but self-evident language of love and pas-
sion in which they had addressed her.
However, when Edson Abbot came, he
was persistent, both because he was in-
credulous as to any girl being unlike other
girls, and because he always seized with
a grip, which made his own fate, upon
anything which seemed about to elude him.
" 1 wish she would fancy you, Edson, but
I'm afraid it isn't any use/' Mrs. Greenleaf
"A girl's fancy depends mostly upon a
man's/' he replied, "and I can hold my
fancy to the wheel longer than some men.
I shouldn't have given up like Willy Slo-
"It isn't so much because she won't
as because she neither won't nor will/'
said her mother, with a sigh of bewilder-
ment. This woman, who had been insen-
sibly trained b}^ all her circumstances of
life to regard a husband like rain in its sea-
son, or war, or a full harvest, or an epidemic,
something to be accepted without question
if offered, whether good or bad, as sent by
the will of the Lord, and who had herself
promptly accepted a man with whom she
was not in love, without the least hesitation,
and lived as happily as it was in her nature
to live ever after, could not possibly com-
prehend the nature of her own daughter.
She w^as, moreover, with that passionate
protectiveness which was the strongest
feature of her mother-love, anxious to see
this little ewe lamb of hers well settled in
life with some one to shield her from its
storms before she herself was taken from
her. Edson Abbot, the young man who
took charge of the farm and lived with
them, entirely filled her ideal of what Lucy's
husband should be. He was handsome,
with a strong masculine description of
good looks which appealed to her power-
fully. He came of a fine family, but treated
the tillage of the earth from a scientific
stand-point. He had books and papers
about, which were as Greek to Mrs. Green-
leaf, but which impressed her still more
with his unusual ability to take care of
"I don't want to hurry you, Lucy/' she
said to her daughter one day. "I know
you ain't very strong, but Edson is one man
in a thousand, and it doesn't seem right
for you to let him slip through your fingers,
just for want of a kind word. You don't
pay any more attention to him than you do
to that strange bush at the gate."
Lucy looked at her mother, then at the
syringa-bush standing, all clothed in white
like a bride, at the gate.
"What do you want me to do, mother?"
"Do, child? Why, treat Edson Abbot
the way any other girl in this town would
treat him, and give all her old shoes for
" ' Do you mean for me to kiss him ? * "
The soft red mounted slowly over the
girl's face, as she still looked at her
"Do you mean for me to kiss him?" whis-
pered she. " I don't feel as if I could."
A swift blush came over the older woman's
face. She laughed, half in embarrass-
ment, half in dismay. "I never saw such
a baby in my life as you be/' said she;
"will you never be anything but a baby,
Lucy? It scares me to think of leavin'
you some day, if you ain't different. You
ain't fit to take care of yourself, and Edson
is a good man, and he thinks a heap of you,
and mother wants to make sure you're
taken care of — that's all. Don't you feel
as if you might be willing to marry Edson
some time if he asked you, Lucy?"
The girl shook and trembled, and eyed
her mother with a strange intentness as of
fascinated fear. "Oh, mother, I don't want
to," she said. "I don't want to marry any-
body. I don't like men. I am afraid of
them. I want to stay with you/'
"You can stay with me. You can go
right on living with me, dear child. You
shall never leave mother as long as she
lives, and she will never leave you."
"I want to just live with you/' said Lucy;
"I don't like men/'
"Girls are apt to feel that way/' said
her mother, "but you'd come to feel dif-
ferent after a while. It's the way people
were meant to do; to be married and given
in marriage. You know what it says in
the Bible. And then you would be sure
to have somebody to take care of you as
long as you live."
"Wouldn't I have God?" asked Lucy,
with an indescribably innocent rounding of
her soft eyes at her mother.
"God sends people to take care of folks/'
replied her mother, judicially. "He can't
come down to earth and see to it that your
fires are kindled, and your paths shovelled
out, and your wood chopped, and all the
heavy things of life lifted off your shoulders.
Think of the way Susan Dagget lives."
Lucy was unconvinced and unmoved by
all this reasoning. She was much more
convinced by the steady broadside of a
strong masculine will brought skilfully
to bear upon her at all times and seasons.
Edson Abbot was a most able young man,
of great strength of character, and even
some talent. He was something of a dip-
14 The last assertion of her maiden freedom
lomat in his wooing. He never frightened
this fine, timid creature, who never looked
at him without the impulse of flight in her
eyes, like a rabbit or a bird. He was ex-
ceedingly gentle, but she was made to feel
always his firm, unrelaxing will towards
her, and his demand for her obedience.
Whenever he saw that his presence was
awakening beyond control the wild im-
pulses which always underlie timidity, he
pressed her no further; he withdrew, but
when she needed him he was always there.
Insensibly, she began to depend upon
him for services which had always come
from her mother. Then he had a ready skill
to invent some of his own. It was Edson
who conceived the idea of a wild garden for
her in a corner of the field, who had a minia-
ture pond of lilies made for her for a birth-
day surprise. Lucy acquired the habit of
looking at him as she had always looked
at her mother for confirmation and encourage-
ment. He humored her in all her little
idiosyncrasies. When her mother feared
to have her take a long, solitary ramble,
since a tramp had been seen in the neigh-
borhood, he took her part and bade her
go, and himself followed, unseen, at a dis-
tance to protect her. She came gradually
to think of him as always on her side, even
against her own mother. When one day
he again asked her to marry him, though
she still looked at him with flight in her
eyes, she listened. He pleaded well, for,
although he wondered at himself, he loved
this slight, frail girl, who, in comparison
with others of her age and time, seemed
either to have scarcely arrived upon the
same level or to have passed it.
Edson got no answer to his suit that
night, but the next, coming home from the
village, he saw a white flutter at the gate,
and Lucy came slowly down the road to
meet him. It was the first time such a
thing had happened. It was full moon-
light, and he could see her face quite plainly
when she reached him and paused. It
expressed the utmost gentleness and docile
assent; only her body, which still shrank
away from him, and her little hands, which
she kept behind her like a child who will
not yield up some sweet, betrayed any-
thing of her old alarm. ''I will/' she said,
tremulously; "I will, Edson. Mother says
I ought to, and I will/'
It was not a very flattering acceptance
of a lover's suit, but if the grasp of pos-
session be strong enough it precludes the
realization of any lack of pressure on the
other hand. Edson found no fault with
it. His heart seemed fairly to leap forward
and encompass the girl, but he no more
dared touch her than he would have touched
a butterfly which had settled upon his hand.
He could always keep a straight course
on the road to his own desires. " You shall
never regret it, darling/' he said, and so con-
trolled his voice, even then, that only a look
of startled wonder came into the girl's eyes.
Then she walked home with him content-
edly enough, fluttering along at his side.
There was undoubtedly something about
the love and tenderness of this handsome,
strong fellow which pleased her after a
fashion. She had something in common
with others of her sex. She might be cold,
if such a negative state could be called
cold, but she loved, or she had not dwelt
on the earth at all. It was only when
he pursued her too ardently that she re-
Edson and Lucy went in to the girl's
mother, who began to cry when she saw
them coming. " Oh, you dear child ; mother
is so glad/' she said, and held Lucy closely
and kissed her.
After Mrs. Greenleaf had gone to bed,
the young man and the girl sat side by side
on the door-step in the moonlight. Her
little hands were folded in her lap. He
looked longingly at them.
Suddenly Lucy spoke, fixing her child-
like eyes fully upon his face.
"1 found that beautiful flower, for the
first time this year, to-day in the swamp/'
''What flower, sweet?" Edson asked,
and took advantage of the unwariness of
her thoughts to lay his hand over hers,
which fluttered a little.
"Ought 1 to let you hold my hand be-
cause you are going to marry me?" said
"Of course. Go on. What was the flow-
"That beautiful flower that comes every
spring, you know."
"Did you bring it home?"
"Bring it home! No, I wouldn't pick it
for anything in the world."
"I'D get you some to-morrow; 1 guess
I know the flower you mean. The swamp
is too wet for you to go far. I will find a
whole bouquet of those flowers for you/'
Lucy pulled her hand away fiercely.
" If — if you do that, if you pick that flower,
1 — 1 will never marry you, Edson Abbot/'
The young man laughed, though a little
uneasily. For the first time a doubt as
to the actual normal mental state of the
girl came into his mind, then he dismissed
it. She was simply, as he had told himself
a hundred times, poetical and ultra-imagi-
native, a fine elusive moonlight sort of nat-
ure, grafted into the shrewd, practical New
England stock. She was like a maiden out
of a midsummer -night dream, but she was
only the more precious for that. "Darling,"
he said, " I would no more pick that flower,
if you did not want me to do so, than I
would hurt you."
The marriage was fixed for a year later.
Mrs. Greenleaf herself pleaded for time.
"She is young, and not strong, Edson,"
she said. " 1 think she ought to have time
to get used to the idea. Then, too, I want to
make her outfit."
Edson yielded easily enough. He him-
self had doubts as to the wisdom of swift
proceeding with Lucy. Then, too, he was
ambitious. He was putting in some hot-
houses, and he wished to be sure of a larger
income before settling himself in matrimony.
He had put in some money, and was to work
the farm on shares. Mrs. Greenleaf grew
prouder than ever of her prospective son-
in-law. She was thoroughly happy. She
stitched away on Lucy's dainty garments,
and every stitch seemed one towards the com-
pletion of her own wedding attire. She
had never been in love herself, and now
that came to her for the first time, through
her loving imagination over her daughter.
Edson Abbot was the sort of man whom
she might herself have loved, and she,
being so bound up in unselfish love for the
girl, could in a measure grasp all her hap-
piness, and so, in a sense, she grasped her
As for Lucy, she did not seem unhappy.
She was peaceful and docile. She sewed
a little on her wedding clothes, she went
walking and driving with Edson, she sat
with him sometimes a little while after her
mother had gone to bed; she always smiled
readily at him with her sweet, evasive sort
of smile. She acquiesced, with the great-
est docility, in her mother's suggestion that
she should learn something more of house-
wifery than she had hitherto known. She
spent hours cooking and setting the house
in order. She had not done much of that,
being delicate, and always shielded by her
strong mother; and that had been one
of the grounds of complaint against her
in the neighborhood. Now, however, she
surprised everybody. "She's taken hold
as well as anybody 1 ever see/' reported
the extra help whom Mrs. Greenleaf had
hired Thanksgiving week. "She's real
smart. She made as good a plum-puddin'
as 1 ever eat."
Indeed, there seemed to come to the girl
an awakening either of latent cleverness
or inherited instincts. She seemed to take
a certain pleasure in her new tasks, and
she thrived under them. She grew stouter ;
her cheeks had a more fixed color. Abbot
was triumphant. He realized less and
less that anything was wanting to the sum
of his happiness. Such was the force of
his own will that, once on the turn towards
possession, he comprehended no other coun-
ter-current. The wedding-day was fixed
in the month of May. The ceremony was
to take place at eight o'clock in the even-
ing. When that hour came all the guests
were assembled, the bridegroom, brides-
maids, and minister were waiting, but the
bride had disappeared. Her wedding-gown
lay on her bed with her veil ; her little white
shoes stood prettily toed out side by side,
but the bride was gone. Her mother and
Edson conferred in Lucy's chamber.
"They mustn't know it, if we can find
her without it/' said Mrs. Greenleaf. Her
face was white and set; she jerked her black-
silk elbow towards the floor, indicating the
company assembled below. Edson looked
palely at her. "Where do you think she
is?" he said.
"1 don't know. I've looked everywhere.
She ain't in the house."
For once Edson Abbot seemed dazed. He
stared at Mrs. Greenleaf.
"You don't think — " he began.
" 1 don't know but we've made a mistake,"
said the woman, brokenly. "1 don't know
as Lucy ought to have had anybody but her
Then the young man made an impatient
exclamation. "It is too late to talk about
that now," he said. " I'm going to find her."
He strode out of the chamber and down
the back stairs, lest the company see him.
The sound of their voices floated after him
as he slipped out of the house. He did not
know where to begin his search, but some in-
stinct took him into the field behind the house.
He hastened across it, a handsome, stalwart
figure in his wedding - suit. His face was
pale, his brows bent; he felt as if he had
met a wall of gossamer with a shock of ala-
baster. The utter docility and gentleness of
the girl made this frightful. He felt no alarm
for her safety. He seemed to understand
that she had set herself against him in a last
assertion of her maiden freedom.
The sun was low in an ineffable rosy sky,
with dregs of violet at the horizon line. One
great star was burning through the paling
radiance. A fragrant, damp coolness was
rising from the earth; a silvery film of dew
was over all the grass. He heard in the
distance the sound of a cow-bell and a boy
whistling. All these familiar sights and
sounds served to enrage this man whose
feet were set so firmly in the regular tracks
of life still further with this savor of the ir-
regular and the unusual which had come to
him. He felt for the first time a fierce im-
pulse to bend forcibly this other will which
had come into contact with his own. He
thought, with a sort of fury, of all those wait-
ing people. Then he saw coming towards
him across the field, with her singular half-
flying motion of the shoulders and arms,
the girl whom he was seeking.
He strode forward rapidly to meet her,
and grasped her roughly by her slender arm.
"Lucy, what does this mean?" he asked,
frowning down at her sternly.
She looked at him with such terror that it
intimidated him more than any defiance
could have done. He weakened, for, after
all, he loved her.
"Lucy/' he said, gently, "you should not
have gone off like this. Don't you know
what time it is?"
" Is it eight yet?" she gasped.
"Of course it is, and after."
"I thought 1 had time," she faltered.
"Time for what?"
" To see if that flower had come. 1 thought
if it had, it would be gone before we get back.
1 thought I had time, Edson."
"You ought to have picked that flower
just this once to wear to your wedding, you
think so much of it," said Mrs. Greenleaf.
"Oh, mother I" said Lucy.
"You are a queer child/' her mother said,
laughing in an odd, embarrassed fashion.
Along with her great tenderness towards this
little ewe lamb of hers, she felt that night a
singular awe and shame and wonder, almost
as if she herself stood in her place.
When Lucy, in her bridal array, went down-
stairs, people drew long breaths.
"She looks like an angel," one woman
whispered, so loud that many heard her.
There was, in fact, that about the girl's
beauty, as she floated among them in her
bridal white, which made her seem more than
human. She apparently did not realize that
the eyes of all the company were upon her.
She stood beside her bridegroom before the
minister as unconscious as arethusa over yon-
der in the swamp. A color as purely fine as
the flower's was in her cheeks; in her eyes
were as mysterious depths of sweetness.
"She looked as handsome as a picture,"
the neighbors said, going home when the
wedding was over and the bridal pair had
departed. "But she don't look quite right,
somehow. Wonder what made her so late?"
They further mentioned this and that girl
who, in their estimation, would have made a
xaore reliable helpmeet than Lucy Greenleaf ,
However, Lucy seemed, as time went on,
to prove them mistaken. She filled her
place as wife and mother well to all appear-
ances. There were two handsome children,
with Edson's sturdy beauty. They bore
not the slightest resemblance to their mother.
"They are all Edson's," Mrs. Greenleaf
used to say. Lucy loved them, and they
loved her, yet they went from the first more
naturally to their father and grandmother.
"They act more like your children than
your daughter's/' the neighbors said. " Lucy
takes good care of them/' her mother re-
turned, jealously. That was quite true.
Lucy neglected nothing and nobody. She
performed all her duties with a fine precision.
She seemed happy, yet always she had that
look of her youth, the look of one who, with
her feet on the common earth, can see past
common horizons. And every spring she
went by herself, when she could, stealing
away unnoticed, to see that great orchid in
bloom in the swamp for the first time that
year. She never allowed her children to
follow her ; if the little things tried to do so,
she sent them back. Her husband also for-
bade them, indulging, as he had always
done, his wife in what he considered a harm-
A RET H USA
less idiosyncrasy, not dreaming that it had
its root in the very depths of her nature, and
that she perhaps sought this fair neutral
ground of the flower kingdom as a refuge
from the exigency of life. In his full tide
of triumphant possession he was as far from
the realization of the truth as was Alpheus,
the fabled river god, after he had overtaken
the nymph Arethusa, whom, changed into
a fountain to elude his pursuit, he had fol-
lowed under the sea, and never knew that,
while forever his, even in his embrace, she
was forever her own.
Every spring this woman, growing old as
to her fair, faded face, went to see arethusa,
coming upon her standing on the border of
the marsh, clad in her green leaf, drooping
delicately her beautiful purplish-pink head,
with the same rapture as of old. This soul,
bound fast to life with fleshly bonds, yet for-
ever maiden, anomalous and rare among her
kind, greeted the rare and anomalous flower
with unending comfort and delight. It was
to her as if she had come upon a fair rhyme
to her little halting verse of life.
ADD'S MOUNTAIN was to the east-
L/ ward of the village, consequently the
sun rose behind it. When the full radiance
crowned it at last, the dewy depths of the
shadows were revealed; great nrpsterious
lights as of the very watch-fires of the day
gleamed out, and here and there silver
threads of mountain torrents dazzled as
with diamonds. But the laurel, of course,
could not be seen from the village ; only to
the f arer in the mountain - ways were its
gorgeous thickets displayed. There was
a marvellous growth of it on Ladd's Moun-
tain. Young people used to make parties
to climb the mountain, and go home laden
with great bunches of the superb chintz-
patterned blossoms. In the winter its
glossy evergreen leaves were in high de-
mand for Christmas wreaths and decora-
tions. But Samuel Ladd was the one who set
the greatest value upon it. It had reached
for him its highest beauty, being more
to him than itself, and having, in a sense,
flowered out beyond its own natural scope,
in a far-reaching influence upon a human
Samuel Ladd actually owned the moun-
tain, and was land-poor in the fullest sense.
Formerly a wide stretch of fertile meadows
on the river -bank below had belonged to
his family ; now only the mountain remained.
There was scarcely an acre of hay or past-
urage on its rocky sides. Even the wood
was of scanty growth and undesirable kinds.
There was more laurel than anything else
on Ladd's Mountain.
The Ladd house was half-way up the
southern slope of the mountain, where the
rough road ended and the rougher path
to the summit began. The house stood
on a narrow level of cultivated fields, a
natural terrace of the mountain. There
Samuel Ladd had been born, and there he
had lived his whole life ; he was nearl\ T forty
years old. He had been one of a large
family — six brothers and three sisters —
but every one was gone. Only the two
oldest sisters had lived until middle life.
They — two round - shouldered, hopeless,
patient - faced women — died of consump-
tion when Samuel was in his twenties.
After that he lived alone, except during
the busy season of the year, when he hired
help from the village. Although a young
man, he never sought companions. He
never cared for any of the village merry-
makings. Through the long winter even-
ings and the long storms he remained alone
over his one fire, listening to the shriek-
ing of the mountain wind around the old
f ami-house, but he was never, in the fullest
sense, lonely. He possessed an imagina-
tion that, joined to the other qualities of
brain needful, might have made him a great
poet. To this man none of his family were
really dead, but lived in a sublimated and
wonderful fashion. His father's poor body
lay in the graveyard over in the village,
but in his stead sat, for the son's fancy,
in his old place beside the hearth, a splen-
did, stalwart figure, radiant with the enjoy-
ment of life ; and instead of the feeble and
worn mother was a grand creature as full
of strength and grace as a mountain pine.
And the two round-shouldered women, his
sisters, who had dragged away their love-
less lives in this mountain solitude, reap-
peared to the fair fancy of their young brother
in all their lost loveliness and hope of youth.
Samuel never imagined them as they had
really been but always as they might have
been had time and trouble not touched
them. One might have wondered if the
boy, through his affection, had always
seen his lost dear ones as he afterwards
pictured them to himself, and had actually
never realized their true aspects in other
On moonlight nights in summer, as he sat
peacefulh T on the step of the door overlook-
ing the valley, seeing the village below
as through the waves of a shifting silver
flood, his beautiful 3 T oung sisters used to
come and sit beside him, and, as the}^ talked
together, Samuel's sisters were much more
companions for him dead than when living,
since he was so at liberty to reanimate them
into accord with himself. In life, they had
paid little attention to their younger brother.
They had had their whole strength taken
and exhausted by their treadmill of narrow
duties, and the slow grinding of their hearts
on the wheel of disappointment of the main
ends of life. They had become breathing
inanities of women, neither kind nor unkind,
neither gloomy nor cheerful, sunken into
as stupidly selfish regard of their own
standing and feeding places as cows. But
Samuel had invested them both, when they
were gone, and, maybe, when they were
still drudging along their narrow paths
of earth, with such garments of glory that
they had not known themselves in them,
not even in their dim orthodox imagina-
tions of their future harped and winged
estates. Their brother made of them shapes
infinitely more desirable than those of their
own conception, and transcended, as love can
often do, their dreams even of their own
When, one day some ten years after his
last sister had died, a party of young people
came up the mountain, and among them
was a strange young girl, such a beauty
that people turned to look after her, Samuel
astonished the man w T ho was working for
him that summer by remarking that that
girl looked like his sister Eunice.
"What?" cried the man, with an in-
credulous stare. He was a young fellow
of about Samuel's age, full of stolid energy
like an ox. He was a good farm-hand,
and was earning enough money to buy
a farm in the village and marry.
"She looks as my sister Eunice used
to," said Samuel.
"Your sister Eunice? Good Lord!" cried
the man. "Your sister Eunice? Why,
your sister Eunice was as thin as a lath,
and stooped till she was most double, and
her skin was yellow as saffron, and her
eves like a fish's ! That girl look like your
sister Eunice You're stun-blind, Sammy."
Samuel gazed at the girl, who was seat-
ed with her companions on the stone wall
across the road, resting before they began
the harder part of the ascent. He com-
pared her laughing eyes, her sweet, rosy
cheeks and lips, her yellow hair, her lovely
young shoulders, with his memory of his
poor dead sister's, and, wrought upon by
some divine alchemy of love, he found the
same likeness as before. "I should almost
take her for Eunice, if I didn't know," he
said, with mild persistenc}^.
"You're a fool," said the hired man.
Samuel made no reply; he was meditat-
ing, his forehead knitted over his deep-set,
pale -blue eyes. When the party had left
their resting-place on the stone wall, and
i 7 8
MOUNTAIN - LAUREL
had disappeared up the mountain-path, he
went promptly into the house.
"Ben't 3'ou goin' to turn that hay?" the
hired man called after him, wonderingly.
"No/' said Samuel, gently but decisively.
The hired man stood staring a moment,
after the door closed behind Samuel, then he
whistled and slouched off to the hay -field
at the right of the house.
When the little party returned, Samuel was
dressed in his best : he had shaved and
brushed his long, sallow locks, he had put on
a clean shirt, with an obsolete, rasping col-
lar, and a tie which his sister Eunice had
made for him out of a piece of her black-silk
dress. His suit was one which had belonged
to his father, and it hung in loose folds on his
lank figure. Besides all this, Samuel wore in
his button-hole a sprig of mountain-laurel.
The long-unused parlor was open, and the
paper curtains flapped in the wind like flow-
ered green sails. The hired man out in the
field saw them blowing, and made an errand
around to the front of the house to get a drink
of water from the well in the yard. He gulped
it down, with long stares over the brim of the
dipper. When he passed the parlor windows,
he cast a shrewd and comprehensive stare
at the interior and went on, whistling again.
Samuel had set a great glass pitcher of milk
on the mahogany card-table in the parlor.
He had looked forlornly in his bachelor larder
for some dainty to accompany the milk, but
there was nothing except cold vegetables,
a ham-bone, some eggs, and cheese. Then
he had searched the cellar, and brought up,
triumphantly, two little tumblers of currant-
jelly which had survived since his sister Eu-
nice's time. He set these out on the card-
table beside the milk, with six of the best
china plates, and six teaspoons. After that
he hastened out behind the house and broke
off branches of the mountain-laurel, which
was in full blossom. He filled an old copper-
gilt pitcher, which was precious, though he
did not know it, with the laurel, and stuck
the sprig in his coat. Then he was ready.
He stood on his front door-step when the
four girls and the two young men who made
up the party reached it. He was flaming
with bashfulness, but resolute in his pur-
pose. He invited them all in to have some
refreshment. There was a moment's hesi-
tation; the girls stared at him, then at one
another, with covert smiles. Samuel Ladd's
name had become a synonym in the village
for rustic uncouthness and abashedness,
and this was unprecedented. Then the
beaut} 7 , who was a school-teacher from an-
other town, took the lead. She accepted the
invitation promptly, and followed Samuel
into the house and the best parlor. Covert
smiles became, in the case of two hysterical
girls, almost open merriment at the sight of
the refreshment spread before them, but the
school-teacher's manner was perfect.
"How delicious!" she cried; "new milk!
And 1 don't know when 1 have had any cur-
rant-jelly! It is currant-jelly, isn't it, Mr.
Ladd? Yes, 1 thought so."
When the guests left, the school-teacher
bore in triumph the beautiful copper-gilt
pitcher which she had admired, and which
Samuel had urged upon her acceptance.
One of the young men carried for her the
great bouquet of mountain-laurel. Samuel
stood looking after them. He had never
been in his whole life so happy after the
fashion of other men.
That evening he stole down the mountain
to the farm-house at the foot where the school-
teacher boarded. He was going courting
for the first time in his life. He was dressed
in his best ; he wore an ancient silk hat which
had belonged to his father when a \~oung man,
he had a fresh sprig of laurel in his button-
hole, and he carried a superb bunch of it.
But just as he reached the gate of the farm-
house where the school-teacher boarded an-
other man was going up the flower-bordered
path to the front door, and he recognized him
as one of the party who had climbed the
mountain in the afternoon. He was a stran-
ger from the city who was in the village on
some engineering business.
Samuel waited in the shadow of a bush at
the gate until the other man had been admit-
ted, then he turned away, but not before Airs.
Cutting, the woman of the house, had espied
him. She was crossing the road from the
field with a basket of greens, and she hailed
him. " Hullo, Samuel!" said she; " couldn't
you get in? The school-teacher is there. 1
should have thought she would have gone
to the door. Did you knock?'' Samuel
stood before the woman, and he seemed to
be settling down into his very toots with
an abashedness which was almost ignominy.
"1 guess 1 won't go in/'' said he. "1 guess
she's got company."
Mrs. Cutting laughed significantly.
" Well, mebbe you'd better not, if lie's come*
said she. "It's Mr. Crane, 1 s'pose. He's
payin' attention to her. He comes every
night. Mebbe you'd better not go in — still,
as long as you've come — "
"I guess I won't go in," replied Samuel,
with a pathetic, breathless kind of dignity.
He was quite pale. He extended the great
bunch of laurel. "Mebbe you'll give her
these flowers by-and-by, when he's gone,"
"Land!" cried the woman, "she's got a
bunch as big as my head now. I don't see
what she can do with any more. But she'll
be jest as much obliged to you, Samuel."
"All right," said Samuel.
Samuel went up the mountain with his
despised offering of laurel. When he reached
the terrace upon which his house stood, he
paused and looked down over the valley,
the cultivated fields and gardens, the river,
and the white village beyond, all waver-
ing under the silver film of moonlight into
outlines of imaginary beauty. "Seems to
me I never knew this house stood so high,"
he muttered. Without knowing it, he had
reached a new spiritual outlook, and even
a material landscape seemed farther be-
neath his material mountain.
There was still a pained expression on
his face when he entered his house, but
it vanished at once. A moonbeam lay
athwart the kitchen floor, and in it stood,
white and fair, and radiant with smiles,
beautiful beyond her utmost compass of
pretty youthfulness, the same girl who
was at that moment sitting with her lover
in the farm-house in the valley.
"Lord, I forgot that/' said Samuel Ladd.
"I can always have her this way as long
as 1 live."
Presently the few people who came up
the mountain wondered what had started
Samuel Ladd fixing up his house. He
took a little hoard from the savings-bank,
put the old place in perfect repair, and
made some improvements. There was a
new portico at the front door, with a climb-
ing-rose trained over it ; lace curtains swayed
at the parlor windows. People began to
surmise that Samuel Ladd was going to
get married, but they were at a loss for the
bride. None of them dreamed that the
man had refurnished his house, not for a
bride, but for a home for the most precious
imagination of his soul. And the refurnish-
ing did not extend to his house alone, for
ever afterwards he was dainty, even to
punctiliousness, in his attire. Xo man in
the village wore more carefully brushed
and mended clothes, or was more religiously
shaven, and that, although he lived days
and weeks on his solitary farm with no
human eye to look upon him.
The pretty school-teacher did not return
after the close of the spring term. She
married the young engineer, and went to
live in a distant city. Samuel saw the
notice of her marriage in the paper; he cut
it out and pasted it on a fly-leaf of his copy
of Paradise Lost. He hesitated awhile be-
tween that and the Bible, but finally de-
cided in favor of the former. Samuel had
a small assortment of books, mostly of
a religious character, with the exception
of a history of Massachusetts. He cared
especially for the Bible and the Milton.
The Milton he pored over for hours at a
time, but mostly for purposes of comparison
after he began to write himself, which he
did soon after the school-teacher left the
village. This pretty, usual girl became,
without knowing it, in a humble, almost
ludicrous, fashion, a species of Laura to
this rustic, inglorious Petrarch. Almost
simultaneously with Samuel LadcTs love
there awakened within him that desire
which has from all time awakened in such
wise — to achieve and succeed and win fame
for love s sake. This male of his species
had found, along with his love, his song,
albeit it was a poor and discordant one.
He looked at the laurel bushes, and a faint
conception of their eternal symbolism came
to him. He had no creative talent, so he
followed the one poet whom he knew, afar
off, with pompous halts and hitches of imi-
tation. He filled reams of foolscap with
trite sentiments and weighty platitudes,
in a babel of strange rhymes and sonorous
syllables and swollen metres, Samuel was
fond of marching up and down, either in
his orchard or his parlor, and mouthing
his own poetry with solemn emphasis,
his hands clasped rigidly behind his back.
Sometimes his hired man used to overhear
him, and stand aloof and listen, grinning.
Gradually the report spread that Samuel
Ladd wasn't quite in his right mind, though
he seemed sane enough in all his business
dealings. Occasionally the 3'oung people
passing the house on their way to the sum-
mit used to hear Samuel declaiming, and
stopped and stared and nudged one another.
These young creatures, travelling along
the common track of daily life, with all its
wayside weeds as giant trees to their per-
spectives, saw much to jest at in the pain-
ful and futile efforts of this poor brother to
raise himself above their level. When he
fell back, or thought himself above when
he was still below, they were keen to see
the^ absurdity of it, being themselves ac-
curately balanced to detect any eccentricity
of orbit. However, they were kind to him.
Often they used to stop, on their way down
the mountain, and leave the remnants of
their luncheons for the poor old bachelor
with no woman to cook the village dainties
for him. Samuel was fond of presenting
them, in return, with copies of his poems.
Samuel never essayed the publication of
his poems in a legitimate fashion by a pub-
lisher. He spent all his little savings, and
went without necessary food, to have them
printed at his own expense, in paper-covered
volumes, by a local printer. These he used
to give away; he never sold them — he was
above that. He went about the village leav-
ing the book at the doors, and it was the
proudest day of his whole life. He knew of
nothing wanting, not even the girl whom he
loved. He was conscious of possessing
something beyond her, which still included
her — that which he had made of himself for
One May, long after the pretty school-
teacher had married and gone away, she
came back to the village, and one afternoon
she joined a party for climbing the mountain
and gathering laurel. Samuel, sitting in his
doorway, saw her, and never knew her ; and
she had forgotten him. She had grown old,
and all her pretty individualities, her dia-
mond facets of character, had been rubbed
smooth into utter commonness by the friction
of an utterly common life. Her youthful
bloom had gone, and something more — the
essential perfume which had crowned and
winged the bloom. Samuel looked at her as
she passed, then he turned away; and she
looked at him, and turned away also.
"That's Samuel Ladd," said a woman at
her side. "He writes poetry; he's sort of
" He looks queer," assented the other. She
had seen neither Samuel as he was, nor be-
side him her own glorified image, that self to
which she could never attain on earth, fade-
less in transcendent youth, while she, coarse
and common, passed on. Samuel held a
volume of his poems in his hand; he had
been reading them aloud to himself. Utter
dross though they might be, they had yet not
failed in the mission of perfect art. They
had filled a soul with the conviction of work
well done and the elation of success. After
all, the worker is more than the work, and he
who does his best with poor tools may crown
himself with genuine laurels.
Samuel had planted laurel closely around
his house, and his windows were almost hid-
den by it. All Samuel's rooms were, sum-
mer and winter, in a green twilight with the
laurel, as was perhaps his mind. He loved
it at all times, but especially in its blooming
season as now.
Between those great bushes, resplendent
with their white and rosy stars and evergreen
leaves, sat the poor poet and lover, who had
fed all his life upon the honey in his own soul
in lieu of any other, and perhaps nourished
himself to his own waste, but to his own hap-
piness. No happier soul was there in the
valley below, no happier soul ever came May-
ing up the mountain-side. Sitting there be-
neath the shade of his splendid symbolic
flowers, with his fadeless ideal to wife, and
his consciousness of an artist soul invincible
by any poverty of art, he was one of the hap-
piest crowned heads in the world.
HE peony returned with the rose to
her old haunt in the garden. The
garden was in the front yard; the long
rectangle on either side of the front walk
was laid out in box-bordered beds of flowers,
prominent among which were the roses
and the peonies. The roses were the old-
fashioned kinds — great single red and white
ones and blushing-roses. The peonies were
themselves exaggerated copies of the roses,
like coarse country wenches following in the
track of the queen, clad in a tawdry, flaunt-
ing imitation of her fine, royal splendor.
They, too, were colored red and a delicate
rose and white, and their great petals curved
like the rose's, but they had nothing of her
subtle fragrance. However, Arabella Lam-
bert did not believe that. To her the strong
sweetness of the rose-colored and the white
ones, and the simple odor of the red, full of
the healthy virility of the flower, was much
finer than the scent of the rose.
She was fond of plunging her face into
the great inflorescence of color, and inhaling
with loud sniffs of rapture. "Folks that
want to smell of roses, can/' she was wont
to say. "Roses to me are sickish, and apt
to give a head-cold. To my mind, the peony
goes far beyond them, and it is enough sight
handsomer flower, too. Roses is short-lived,
and apt to be eat by rose-bugs. Look at
them blushing - roses ; it's seldom they ever
blow out perfect; but look at the peonies!"
The neighbor to whom she was descant-
ing would profess admiration, if she were
given to polite concealment of her own views,
but her outside comment would be different.
" No wonder Arabella Lambert likes peonies
better than roses," she said; "she's as
coarse as one. Arabella is dreadful coarse ;
she always was."
All around Arabella lived extreme types
of her countrywomen, thin and pale, with
closely shut, thin lips, delicately sharp
chins and noses, and high, narrow fore-
heads, from which the hair was strained
back with fierce pulls of nervous, veinous
hands. They looked like ascetics, and
were, nourishing their souls only on un-
watered and unsweetened doctrines and
laws, and their bodies on bread and pastry.
In them the fine and intense strain of Xew
England obtained in full force. They were
delicate, yet more enduring than their sturdy
husbands and sons. The women in the vil-
lage always outlived the men. Some of
these women had lived so long and worked
so hard that they seemed like automatons,
kept in motion by some past effort of the
will. They were the survival of the type
of women who had breasted the early hard-
ships of the country; their bodies were
getting thin, but they endured through
the might of that strong essence of spirit
To such women as these Arabella Lam-
bert was an anachronism, belonging to an-
other time and type. She was as foreign as
if she had been born at the antipodes. This
great, overblown, rosy. easy, sensuous creat-
ure, who never cared whether she spent or
saved, who never cared, nor even knew,
whether her house was swept and garnished
or not, who did not even seem much con-
cerned as to the salvation of her immortal
soul, was to them a perpetual scandal and
rock of offence. Then, too, her lack of self-
repression, her exuberance of emotion before
every stress of life, whether of joy or sorrow,
shamed them with a curious vicarious
shame. They blushed as they spoke in
mortified whispers of this or that which
Arabella Lambert had said or done.
But Arabella herself never dreamed of
their state of mind, and, if she had, would
never have been disturbed by it. Her own
life was enough for this woman, and yet
it was an exceedingly simple life, consist-
ing of little more than the simplest and
most primitive delights. Arabella loved
dearly to sit on her door-step, in the shade
of her green-hooded porch, and doze; she
loved to sleep all night in her high feather-
bed in the south chamber; she loved to eat
some simple fare which did not require
much labor to prepare; she loved to potter
around her flower-garden; and she loved
to give things away. Arabella was as
prodigal of her belongings as the peony
out in the 3 T ard of its bloom. She had
no power of reserve, whether of herself or
her earthly possessions. When an afflicted
neighbor came to her with an account of
her trials, Arabella gave way to such wild
sympathy of grief that the woman was
abashed and alarmed, and turned comforter
herself ; and she gave so lavishly to tramps
that they avoided the house, thinking she
was crazy. Arabella lived alone in a fine
old house filled with a goodly store of furni-
ture still, though it had been considerably
diminished. Arabella had had some mon-
ey in the bank, but she had given most of
it away. She had never married, and it
was confidently believed that she had never
had a chance. As one woman astutely
remarked, if any man had ever asked Ara-
bella to marry him, she would have felt so
badly to say no that she would have had
him whether she had wanted him or not.
Arabella was believed never to have refused
any living creature anything which she
had the power to give, and she had had
Though Arabella had no nearer relatives
than one niece, her sister's daughter, she
had a host of far-away ones. This tender
heart had been besieged for years by an
army of cousins, twice and thrice removed,
and especially the Stebbinses. Years be-
fore, Arabella's second cousin Maria had
married a Stebbins. He had at the time
four children by a former marriage, and
Maria two. From this marriage came four
more children. Now the three sets of chil-
dren had long ago married and had families,
and there had been few deaths, consequent-
ly the Stebbins family, with ramifications,
numbered a multitude. Strangers were be-
wildered by the number of Stebbinses in
the village. Most of them were in strait-
ened circumstances, if not actually needy,
and they made the most of Arabella, though
they met with one obstacle in the shape of her
niece, who was a smart, sharp, single woman,
a school-teacher in a town seven miles distant.
This niece had some property of her own and
was earning a good salary, and so was herself
in no need of Arabella's assistance. She kept
as sharp a watch as possible that her aunt
should not be robbed by her impecunious rela-
tives. She used to say much about it to Ara-
bella. " You know, Aunt Arabella," she would
say, "that you have not enough yourself
to give so much. One of these days you
will be stranded without a cent, and nobody
will thank you for it. There is no sense in
your giving so much."
"Erastus Stebbins has been real sick
and not able to work, Sarah/' the old woman
replied, "and Abby Ann came over here
" Let her cry/' replied the niece. She had
a delicate face which could be pitiless.
"She felt dreadful bad/' said Arabella,
and she wiped her own eyes, overflowing at
"I'd die before I'd come crying to any-
body/' said the niece; "but that isn't all.
You gave away all the wood on the south
wood lot to Sam Stebbins last week, Aunt
" I had to, I really had to, Sarah," replied
Arabella, eagerly. "Samuel's son Billy,
he'd been and signed a note, and couldn't
get enough money to pay, and Sam, he had
to help him out, and it took every cent he
had, and they were actually suffering for
wood. They actually were, Sarah, and
there was Billy's wife with that little baby."
"Let them suffer, then. Better to suffer
than to steal."
"Oh, Sarah, it wasn't stealing."
"Yes, it was. The door of your heart is
always open, and they walk in and take ad-
vantage of it," returned Sarah, stoutly.
"But they would have suffered, Sarah —
Billy's wife and that little baby."
"Let them suffer; it doesn't hurt people
"But you wouldn't want that little baby-
to freeze, Sarah?"
"I guess they could have kept that little
baby warm without stealing your wood/'
replied Sarah, contracting her lips.
She had come over to spend a week of her
vacation with her aunt, her school having
closed earlier than usual on account of the
measles. The next week she was to visit a
cousin ; then she was going on an excursion
to the mountains. " You had better go with
me, Aunt Arabella," she said, presently.
" It would do you good, and it isn't going to
cost much — only twenty-five dollars — and we
can be gone ten days. Lottie White, the
grammar-school teacher, is going with me,
and you could go, too, just as well as not."
Arabella laughed. Her enormous bulk
quite filled up the doorway where she sat.
Sarah was in a straight chair on the porch
beside her. Arabella gave a facetious glance
at the swelling slant, unbroken by any waist-
line, which swept from under her double chin
to her widely planted feet in their cloth slip-
pers. "I'd look pretty climbing mountains,
wouldn't 1?" said she. Then she laughed
'I'd look pretty climbing mountains, wouldn't If
again, a hoarsely sweet chuckle disturbing
the depths of her great body.
Sarah did not laugh in response. She
had not a quick sense of humor. Other
people's laughter puzzled her much more
than their deeds. She could discover mo-
tives for everything else with greater suc-
cess. ' You would not have to climb, of
course/' she replied, gravely. "You could
ride everywhere. Of course, you could not
climb mountains, Aunt Arabella."
"Well, I guess I couldn't go, anyway.
I'm just as much obliged to you for thinkin'
of it," said Arabella."
"If it is the money," said Sarah, slowly,
"I must say I don't feel right about your
going without things to give to an able-bod-
ied man like Sam Stebbins, but I've got
enough, and it's only twenty-five dollars —
"Oh no, thank you; you're real good,
Sarah, but I couldn't take it, nohow. I've
got the money; it ain't that. It's only be-
cause I don't think it's best."
"Why don't you think it is best?" asked
the niece, bluntly.
Arabella colored all over her great face of
overlapping curves like a rose or a peony.
" There are reasons/' said she, with a curious
attempt at dignity.
"Well/' said Sarah, coldly, "I don't want
to pry into your secrets, Aunt Arabella, but
1 think it would do you good, and 1 see no
sense in your going without everything for
the sake of the shiftless, begging Stebbinses."
"Now, Sarah, Eben Stebbins ain't shift-
less; nobody ever said he was. He's always
worked hard, but he's been dreadful unfortu-
nate. He's had fire and sickness, and he's
sick himself. Look how lame he is with the
rheumatism, poor man!"
"Well, I wasn't saying anything against
Eben Stebbins," admitted Sarah ; "but if he
comes begging, he's no better than the rest
of them — a man begging of a woman!"
" He hasn't, Sarah," Arabella cried, eager-
ly. "He hasn't said a word, but I know if
he has a wheel-chair, he could get around in
it. But nobody has said a word about it.
That was what I thought I'd use the money
for. Poor Eben has had a dreadful hard
time, and I'm dreadful sorry for his daughter
"What about her?"
" Nothing, only she was going to get mar-
ried to that Leavitt boy, and he'd just got his
nice new little house built, and he had enough
money saved up to buy the furniture, and the
bank he kept it in has failed up, and he's lost
every dollar, and they Ve got to put off the
weddin'. Eben offered to take them in with
him, but the young man has got to live on
his farm; you know it's three miles out of
the village. Minnie said she didn't mind if
there wasn't any furniture except the little
her father could spare her — he hasn't got
much, you know — but the young feller is real
proud, and says she sha'n't live so, and he
won't borrow. They feel dreadfully about
it, and I should think they would. I've al-
ways heard it was a bad sign to put off a
" Well, I don't see what you can do about
it," said Sarah. She looked suspiciously at
her aunt, who fidgeted a little and made an
" I don't know as I can do anything," said
she, meekly. She was rather afraid of her
niece. She was, on the whole, relieved when
she went away the first of the following week.
She found it very peaceful to sit undisturbed
in her disordered room, and not have Sarah
raising a dust with the broom and making
her move to facilitate the sweeping. She did
not like a way Sarah had of always shutting
the doors. She loved her doors to be open,
and her windows. She felt aggrieved when
Sarah insisted on having the windows on
the sunny side of the house shut, though she
said nothing. The minute Sarah was gone
Arabella waddled about softly and ponder-
ously, flinging wide open doors and windows
to admit anything which chose to enter —
sunshine, winds, flies, stray cats — anything.
Arabella minded nothing, not even bats or
bumble-bees or hornets. She made every-
thing which chose to enter her home welcome,
being instinct with a spirit of hospitality
which included the little as well as the great.
Arabella was no heartier in her welcome to
the minister than to the old ragman to whom
she sold no rags, but with whom she shared
her dinner. It was not very much of a dinner.
Arabella did not get up very elaborate repasts,
but they were plentiful. She boiled vegeta-
bles or greens, she had baker's bread, eggs,
and fruit, currants in their season, and apples.
Arabella had quite an orchard. The village
boys had the run of it. It was only through
their generosity, which spared Arabella some
of her own bounty, that she had any apples
from her own orchard. The boys used to
Arabella had quite an orchard'
pick some for her, and bring them to the
house, and she was exceedingly grateful,
and never once thought that they had dis-
charged any obligation towards herself by
so doing. Once she spoke to one of the bo}^s'
mothers about it, and the woman looked at
her wonderingly. ''Why, 1 don't see that
it is anything for you to thank them for/'
said she. "I told Franky that he and Al-
bert and George ought to go to work and pick
your apples for you, you had been so good
about giving them so many. Franky has
come home with his pockets stuffed day after
day. 1 shouldn't have thought you would
have had enough to make any pies/'
" Oh, I never make any pies ; it's too much
work/' said Arabella; "and the boys have
been real good. They have brought ever so
many to me. Sometimes 1 have been afraid
they have robbed themselves."
"Good land!" cried the woman. "Whose
orchard is it?"
When she w r ent home she told her sister
she didn't know as Arabella Lambert was
The village children descended like a flock
of birds upon Arabella's garden, and pillaged
it at their will. They did not seem to care as
much about the peonies as about the other
flowers, like roses or pinks. Their mothers
told them not to bring those great coarse
things home; they were in the way, Ara-
bella was glad it was so. She would have
suffered had the children been too free with
the peonies ; she might have forbidden them.
Her one streak of parsimoniousness show r ed
itself in the case of those great fully blown
flowers. She used to watch jealously lest the
children trample them. The peonies were
in bud the week after Sarah went away, and
in full blossom the week after that, and they
still endured when Sarah came up the walk
one afternoon about five o'clock.
Arabella put on her glasses and stared in
a bewildered fashion at the straight, slim,
genteel figure in the black India silk coming
up the box-bordered path. She herself was
sitting as usual in her doorway.
"Why, Sarah Bisbee, that ain't you?"
cried Arabella, as her niece drew near. There
was a note of dismay as well as surprise in her
voice. Sarah put down her black-silk para-
sol carefully before she replied. She never
talked while she w T as doing anything else.
"Yes, it is 1, Aunt Arabella," said she.
"Are you surprised?"
" Yes, 1 guess 1 be a little. 1 thought you
was up to the mountains/'
"Well, 1 expected to be there/' replied
Sarah, " but the excursion was given up on
account of the illness of the gentleman who
was to conduct the party. It is postponed
for three weeks. So 1 thought 1 would come
over here. 1 thought 1 would give your
house a thorough cleaning, and put up some
currant- jelly for you. Then 1 saw when 1
was here that some of your sitting-room
chairs, and the parlor ones, too, for that mat-
ter, needed fixing up. The wood ought to
be rubbed. I've got a nice recipe for furni-
ture polish. Then 1 want to see about the
spare -chamber curtains and the bedspread
being done up, too."
Arabella stared at her niece, and her ex-
pression of dismay deepened. "1 wouldn't
bother about them, Sarah," said she, frankly.
"Seems to me 1 wouldn't. It would be a
good deal of work, and you must be tired
"1 am not half so tired when I am doing
something," replied Sarah, firmly. She
made as if to enter, but her aunt Arabella
did not move aside to allow her to do so.
"1 guess I'll go in and lay aside my bon-
net/' remarked Sarah. Still Arabella did
Sarah looked at her in growing surprise,
but she spoke easily enough. "1 guess if
you will just move a little, Aunt Arabella/'
said she, "then Til go in."
Arabella did not stir. She sat perfectly
still, filling up the doorway. Her eyes were
fixed upon a great clump of red peonies be-
side the path.
The thought came to Sarah that possibly
her aunt's hearing was failing. She spoke
in the loud, clear, imperative voice which
she used in the school-room. "If you will
move a little, please, Aunt Arabella/' said
she, "1 will go in and lay aside my bonnet."
Arabella did not move. The look of aston-
ishment on Sarah's face deepened to alarm.
She touched her aunt, leaning over her, and
shook her gently by the shoulders. " Why,
Aunt Arabella," she shouted, "what is
the matter? Can't you hear anything 1
"Yes, Sarah, 1 hear every word," replied
"Well, then, why don't you move a little
and let me go in? 1 want to take off my
Arabella sat immovable, with her eyes riv-
eted upon the clump of peonies.
Then Sarah straightened herself and stood
staring at her aunt in consternation and
astonishment which almost convulsed her
steady face. Arabella wore an old-fashioned
muslin covered with a large pattern in purple
cross-bars, between which were little bunches
of pink roses. This voluminosity of purple
muslin over Arabella's bulk filled up the
doorway completely with the apparent light-
ness of a flower. Out of the soft frills of the
muslin arose Arabella's creasy neck and
her large, rosy, imperturbable face. Noth-
ing could exceed the obstinacy of gentleness
and mildness on that face ; it was a power of
a kind to stop an army. Sarah continued to
stare. ''Don't you want me to go in, Aunt
Arabella?" she asked, finally.
Arabella made no reply, but her face
twitched. It was the first time in her whole
life that she had ever held the door of her
house against her own kith and kin.
''Well/' said Sarah, in a high, thin voice
that trembled slightly, " if you don't want me
to go in your house, perhaps 1 had better go
home, only it is too late for the stage-coach,
and if 1 go to any of the neighbors to stay all
night, they may think it strange that I don't
Arabella made no reply to that. She was
afraid of her niece with the unreasoning and
uncalculating fear of a child. She held
that door, knowing all the time that it was
a futile measure, that her niece must finally
enter, that the evil day was only postponed.
Sarah stood for a moment longer undecided.
Then she gave her bonneted head a toss and
straight to the sitting-room windows she
went. They were wide open, and the shut-
ters thrown back.
Sarah gave a long look through a win-
dow, then she turned to her aunt, who kept
her eyes fixed on the clump of peonies as if
she found strength and support therefrom.
"There are only that little card-table,
and the shovel and tongs, and two chairs,
and a cricket left in the sitting-room/' said
Arabella said nothing.
Sarah went to a parlor window and raised
herself on tiptoe to look therein. Then
she turned to her aunt. "All the parlor
furniture is gone/' said she.
Then Arabella spoke. "I knew how
you'd feel about it," said she, "and I hated
to have you know, but Minnie she came
over here and she cried. She didn't think
of havin' my furniture, but she cried, and
the next morning I got Jonas Tibbets,
and he loaded the furniture into his ex-
press-wagon and carried it over to the
"All the parlor furniture, and almost all
the sitting-room gone/' said Sarah, slowly,
as if she were informing herself.
"I never sat in the parlor, and no more
than two at a time ever come into the sit-
ting-room, and 1 can sit on the cricket,"
"Have you given them the chamber
"Enough to furnish two chambers — that
is all, Sarah. "
" The spare-chamber furniture, I suppose?"
"Yes, I did. You know I never have
any company to stay all night, except you,
Sarah; and 3 T ou know you alwa\ r s like the
east room better ; that ain't touched. "
"Well," said Sarah, grimly, "I sha'n't
have to do up the spare -chamber spread
"They would have been a sight of work,"
said Arabella, eagerly.
Sarah stepped forward. "Well/* said
she, "it was your own furniture, and I
suppose you had a right to do what you
wanted to with it. When you have given
away the roof off your house, and the clap-
boards and shingles, and the floor -boards,
as you'll be sure to do before you die, you
can come to my house, I suppose, and I
won't sit in the door and keep you out.
Now, Aunt Arabella,, if that was the reason
why you didn't want me to go in, I know
now, and there is no reason for keeping me
out any longer. If you will move a little
now, Til go in and lay aside my bonnet."
Arabella moved, half rising, and the slim,
black silk-clad figure of her niece pressed
past her into the house.
Then Arabella sat down again, and a
beatific expression was on her face. She
looked like a child who had escaped a scold-
ing, and was radiant and triumphant in
the supremacy of its own way, and bej^ond
that look was another, which comes only
to the face of the giver, out of all the faces
She sat there filling up the doorway with
her vast bulk, overspread with waves of
purple-barred muslin, a woman with no
fine development of imagination or intellect,
a woman whose whole scheme of existence
was on lines so simple that they were fairly
coarse, like those of the peony beside the
gate, in which the mystery of the rose was
lost in the grossness of utter revelation.
She only knew enough to bloom like the
flower, whether to her own grace or glory
it mattered not, so long as it was to her far-
thest compass, and to yield unstintingly all
her largess of life to whomsoever crossed her
path with a heart or hand of need for it.
ALL over the stone wall in front of the
l Bemis house the morning - glories
thrived, and not only there, but on the trel-
lis-work over the east door. They even
trailed along the ground their garlands of
purple, and rosy, and white blossoms, when
support failed them. The morning-glory
prefers a prop for her tender growth, but
such is her rapture of youth and morning
that she blossoms anywhere. From the
face of the rock, from the depths of the dewy
grass, from tree, and trellis, prone in the
dust of the highway at the mercy of the feet
of men, the morning - glories shout out their
great silent chorus of triumph through a
hundred trumpets of delicate bloom.
The morning-glories had always been a
distinctive feature of the Bemis place. Madam
Bemis, as she was called, was very fond of
them. Madam Bemis was the daughter of
old Squire Bemis, and she had married her
own cousin, the son of Minister Bemis. Now,
squires were out of date, and even ministers
of as many years' settlement as her hus-
band's father had lost prestige, but there
was still recognition on the part of the vil-
lagers for the descendants of such notables,
hence the " Madam Bemis." They were
emulous of her notice, and they had a pride
which was like feudal loyalty in Alexander.
Alexander's father had died when he was
a child too young to remember him clearly.
The little boy always had a face appear to his
mental vision whenever the dead man's name
was mentioned, but whether it was true or
not he never knew. This vision was not in
the least like a portrait of his father, done
crudely in oil, which hung in the best parlor.
This portrait represented his father as a very-
young boy, with a face as puffed out with a
wind of innocent gayety as a cherub's. He
was dressed in the artlessly grotesque fashion
of a former generation, in an awkward little
nankeen suit, with a wide frill around the
neck, and strapped shoes. " I could never see
the least resemblance to your father after he
was grown up, in that portrait," Alexander's
mother used to say; "but I suppose he
must have been like that when he was a
child, for a good artist painted it. Your
father never looked in the least like you,
When Madam Bemis said that she would
gaze up at her son with a perfect assent of
admiration with which she had never gazed
at his father. Her married life had not been
altogether satisfactory to her. Her husband
had been something of a disappointment.
He was very much a Bemis, as was she, and
there had been a constant, wearying echoing
of family traits. "I wish, Addison, when
you lose your temper, you would not lose
it in exactly the same way that I do," she
told her husband once.
The tastes of the two had been so similar
that they gave rise to that curious discord
which may result from harmony. With such
an identity of hereditary tastes, there was at
once a loss of individuality, and a maddening
intensifying of it as in a convex mirror, and
the result was either weariness or a mon-
strous egotism. In the woman's case it
was weariness; in the man's, egotism. The
woman, when her son came, had for the first
time in her life a distinct interest in some-
thing outside herself, and yet belonging to
her. She did not have to admire or dislike
in the child her own appearance and traits,
or her husband's. He was essentially dif-
ferent from both parents, or appeared to be so.
Certainly, he differed from them physically.
Both Alexander's parents were small, with
fair hair, and he was exactly the reverse.
Madam Bemis said that he resembled her
own father, who had not been a true Bemis,
but had inherited from the mother's side.
"My father was the first dark Bemis who
ever lived, so far as I know," she said, "and
he was like my grandmother, who was a
Morril, and was said to have Indian blood.
Alexander seems more like father than he
does like me or his own father." Then
Madam Bemis concluded, as she always
concluded everything, all her paragraphs of
life, with, as it were, a little tail-piece of a
look of boundless admiration at Alexander.
Alexander was accustomed to that look,
and not on his mother's face alone. Every-
body whom he met looked at him in that
fashion. He was never at any time par-
ticularly elated by it. He merely acquiesced
in it as his rightful due, and had done so
from the first. Alexander had been a very
precocious child, and not in the least slow
He used to view his small image
to recognize his own relation to his environ-
ments. Long before people thought that
he understood, when they talked before his
face of his beauty and brilliancy, he was
fulty alive to the situation.
"Oh, that baby can't understand what
we say/' one woman replied to another,
who remonstrated with her for her outspoken
admiration in the presence of the child.
"He doesn't know what a beauty he is, do
But Alexander, who could speak few
words, and understood many, and who, be-
sides, had as keen an intelligence for varia-
tions of voice and expressions of face as a
dog, would look at her with his wonderful
contemplative black eyes and understand
He knew that he was a beautiful, marvel-
lous little boy ; that no other child in the vil-
lage could equal him; and everybody ad-
He used to view his small image in the
mirror with no vanity, but entire compre-
hension of its beauty. There had really
never been such a beautiful child as Alex-
ander in the village, or perhaps in the State.
There was something about that noble,
gentle little face lighted with those great
black stars of eyes, and that little figure full
of the touching majesty of innocence and
childhood, which made a woman's heart
ache with love and desire, and a man's with
ambition and desire.
" That boy is going to be something, if he
lives/' they said. The} T repeated his bright
sayings, which were many. He was a tal-
ented child. When he went to school he
soon outstripped those of his own age, and
graduated the youngest of his class, and
was ready for college at seventeen.
Madam Bemis went to college with Alex-
ander. She could not bear her beautiful,
noble son to be long out of her sight. The
Bemis place was shut up during the long
terms, and Madam Bemis lived in the college
town, and made a home for Alexander. But
when the morning-glories were in blossom
the two were home again, and Alexander,
resplendent with new clothes, and new stat-
ure, and new knowledge, was passing in and
out of the east door, under the trellis, purple,
and rosy, and white with the trumpet-shaped
The admiration of Alexander grew and
grew. He was making a brilliant record at
college; he seemed to be moving on an as-
cendent scale in everything — mind, looks,
and attainments. People began to think
that he might in time become almost any-
thing : representative, senator, perhaps even
President, at least governor of the State. His
mother had the fullest faith in it.
"There is no reason why you cannot be
anything that you want to be, Alexander/'
she would say, and Alexander would flash
upon her one of his brilliant, contemplative
looks, and make no dissent. There was in
reality something sublime in the boy's con-
sciousness of his own power. It was com-
pletely removed from vanity. It was a sim-
ple, ingenuous recognition of the truth.
"Alexander Bemis does think he's awful
smart," said one sharp -tongued, dissenting
young girl to another, who retorted:
"Well, he is awful smart."
"I would rather he didn't know it," said
"Then he wouldn't be bright," said the
Alexander was worshipped afar off by the
young girls of the village, but he made a
sweetheart of none of them until he had
graduated from college. He came home
laden with honors. He had won prize after
prize. He had been mentioned in the news-
papers. Madam Be mis was so proud of him
that life was to her like a triumphal march.
If the church-bell in this little New England
village, which never rang in the interest of
any individual, unless his house was on fire
or he was on his way to his tomb, had pealed
for joy when Alexander came home from col-
lege, she would have considered it quite ap-
propriate. What demonstration in greeting
of such magnificent promise as that of her
son could be out of place?
However, although the bell was not rung,
Alexander was made much of in his native
village. Young as he was, he was elected a
member of the school committee, and was
made chairman of the selectmen. At every
public meeting he was called upon as ''our
talented and promising young townsman"
to speak. He sat upon the platform with
the local dignitaries ; his name, prinked out
with laudatory adjectives, appeared often
in the local paper. Alexander at that time
could scarcely sit down, or stand up, or eat
his breakfast but it was made the subject
of admiring chronicle. He could not speak
without a listening hush. He held undis-
puted moral sway over the whole village,
but his head was not in the least turned.
He bore all his honors with the magnif-
icent ease and unconcern of one born to a
The year after Alexander graduated Aman-
da Doane came to live in the village. Her
father was a rich manufacturer, who bought
out the little factory, and established a gi-
gantic plant, which might in time convert
the small town into a city. His daughter
was a beauty of a coarse, emphatic type.
Xot a line wavered, not a color was indetermi-
nate. Her loud, clear voice never faltered in
the expression of her opinions. Alexander
lost his heart to her at once. The village
people quite approved of the match, but
Madam Bemis hesitated. For the first time
a doubt as to whether the king could not do
wrong seized her. When her son told her
of his engagement, she looked at him uncer-
"Why. what is the matter, mother?*'
Alexander asked, with wonder.
" She is not like the women of our family/"
Madam Bemis replied, falteringly.
Alexander laughed. " She is a lady at
heart," he replied, ''and as for the rest, she
can acquire it. Not that 1 am not entirely
satisfied/' he added, generously.
But Amanda Doane acquired nothing.
She remained a fact, settled and incontro-
vertible. Her period for receptivity had
passed. Although she was still young, her
character had formed and developed to a
perfect flower of resistance to all outside
The engagement was not to be a long one;
the wedding-day was set. Then one after-
noon Amanda appeared at the Bemis house.
Such was her almost brutal directness of
action when her mind had once formed a pur-
pose, that she came, rather than send for
Alexander. " 1 don't care if you stay in the
room," said she to Madam Bemis; "I would
just as soon you heard."
Then she confronted the two, the splendid
young fellow and his adoring mother, and
made her little speech, which was full of rev-
olutionary eloquence. It was the revolt of a
daughter of the people — of the modern con-
ditions of things against all inactive su-
periority. The girl did not speak good
English, but she spoke with a force which
made her own language. "Now, you look
at here, Alexander Bemis/' said she. "I've
promised to marry you, and I'm most ready,
clothes all bought an' everything. I don't
know what you will say, an' I don't know
what folks will say, and 1 can't help it, and
1 don't care. Fm goin' to back out. I've
got to look out for myself, and my father s
money, that he's worked so hard to get, with-
out a dollar to start with. I'm goin' to back
out. Fve liked you, an' 1 like you now, an*
it ain't none too easy for me. an' Fve laid
awake some nights thinkin' of it, but it's
better for both of us. 1 ain't goin' to marry
you. You're good and steady and hand-
some, and you're awful smart, but you ain't
done anythin' but talk smart, an' look smart,
an' be smart ; you ain't never acted smart,
an' I don't believe you ever will. You haven t
done anythin'. You've jest laid right back
on your reputation, an' that's what you're
goin' to do right along. Fd rather have a
man with less smartness than you that can
use what little he's got. There's no use. Fm
goin' to back out."
The girl's voice broke a little; there were
tears in her indignant blue eyes; her red
hps pouted into sobs, which she resolutely
restrained. Alexander towered over her,
pale and magnificent and quite silent. His
mother shrank into a little, faintly breathing,
wide-eyed heap in a corner of a sofa. Aman-
da pulled the engagement ring, a little ancient
pearl hoop, an heirloom in the Bemis family,
from her finger.
" Here," said sne— " here's your ring. Til
always wish you well."
Alexander took the ring between a long
thumb and forefinger — Amanda's were short
and stubbed — and looked at it, then at the
girl, with a sort of pained and stately acqui-
escence. "Very well, Amanda," he replied,
quite calmly, but his lips were white. Gen-
tleman born and bred, diametrically different
by nature and training, he had been very
fond of this girl, who defied, with her coarse
but splendid vigor, all laws and rules of
growth and advance to which she did not
"Why ain't the kind of English I speak
as good as yours?" she had demanded of him
once. They would always have spoken two
languages had they lived together for a life-
time, but that had not seemed of much mo-
ment to him. She had, perhaps, supplied
some inherent need of his nature, and been
to him a sort of spiritual trellis-work, which
had been essential for his future growth.
Be that as it may, after Amanda Doane de-
serted him he retrograded further and still
further from his early promise, though that
might have happened in any case.
Amanda soon married a young manu-
facturer, who went into business with her
father. Alexander used often to see her
driving in her smart trap, with her keen-
looking, alert husband by her side. Later
on he saw her with a small brood of children,
who were the children of her time as well,
who raised a shrill babel of voices, like a
multiple of their mother's.
As time went on, and Alexander did no
more than he had done, people began gradu-
ally to lose faith in him, especially after his
mother died. Her faith had served as a
prop for that of others. Then slowly Alex-
ander dropped and sagged away from his
high estate until he lay nearly prone in his
path of life, yet still, even there, with a cer-
tain unconquerable beauty and glory. No
man could ever say aught against Alexander
Bemis, except that he had never done that
which he had bade fair to do, and had failed
to keep his promise to himself. He lived
to be an old man, old and shrunken, going
in and out his east door, under the garlands
of morning-glories, and people, seeing him,
used to speak in this wise: "That is Alex-
ander Bemis. Everybody used to think he
was going to be something great, but he
never amounted to anything at all. He has
never done anything. He used to speak in
town-meeting; we thought he would be a
Daniel Webster or a Charles Sumner, and go
to Congress, but he never did. When he was
young everybody thought there was nobody
like him in town, but he never came to any-
Every spring the morning-glories came
again and sent forth their great silent chorus
of youth and victory from their hundred
trumpet mouths. Then at noon they closed
and slept, and remained asleep until the
next morning, when they awoke again to
their chorus of victory, and Alexander passed
beneath them, still old and wrecked and
defeated. But the day of a man is longer
than that of a flower.
By LILIAN BELL
THE EXPATRIATES. A Novel. Post 8vo, Cloth,
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